coming home.

I always find it difficult to settle back in to normal life after time away, especially when that time is spent in an opposite part of the world. Life experiences rarely reflect my own and living conditions differ vastly. But the craziest thing I find is that everyone I meet has a genuine heart, a love for people, a love for sharing and encouraging. So different from our bustling, heads-down, elbows-out cities. I always return with questions about the Western world, despising our consumerist society and love of ‘more’. Lack of wifi is bliss and separates me. Now I have to figure out just how exactly these reflections will adjust my life.

In the meantime:

– Outcome of the whole experience ( one of a trillion ) – a split second decision can lead to the greatest life experience. The choice to venture to Tanzania and climb Mt Kilimanjaro was clearly one of my least thought-out decisions ever made, as documented many times throughout this year, but is the best thing I have ever done. The most life-changing, eye-opening, and all over amazing. So much so that I instantly need to start saving again so I can make my way back.

Sometimes I need to stop my brain and go with the heart instead. Because in the end, if we don’t live with our hearts what are we living for anyway?

More on African fashion later, but, as a mini piece of inspiration for the beginning of the week, a few little street style gems loaded with patterns and colour – seen everywhere along the streets of Tanzania, in every village, in every town.

street style patterns

street style veronika heilbrunner acne

street style turban
street style susie bubble patterns

(Images from 1, 2, 3, 4)

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countdown on.

So it is almost time for me to disappear for a while, breathe some truly fresh air, and experience a completely different culture. Scary that that day has finally approached. After so much planning and revising and organising it is time to just let it all flow. Hop on that plane, climb that mountain, see those animals, and visit those families. And just trust that everything, or at least most things, will go to plan with minimal hiccups.

As I head off to pack, and re-pack, and then check again, and say some short goodbyes, I wanted to leave you with a few inspiring images to start off one massive month. A head start on the right foot.

– A glorious pattern to get the African safari vibes flowing – a coloured piece for compiling scrapbooks and dreaming of textile creations.

– The beautiful blooms of spring.

– The time to just sit and read and inspire through the written word, off-screen. The tactile pleasure of paper and the smell of a fresh magazine.

– More mustard fashion because it is my second favourite colour right now ( after the dusty red ) and makes every day feel a little warmer, a little more achievable.

Let’s see if I can squeeze one more mini post in before the day arrives.

africa print inspiration

spring yellow blooms floral

magazine reading relax

mustard fashion spring

(Images from 1, 2, 3, 4)

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the sustainers :: palmaira sandals.

I just finished a book in record time – one month, instead of three ( all thanks to the #tenpagesaday initiative ). And this aforementioned book happens to be one of the most important I have ever read, or opened. It is the book that everyone needs to read.

Clare Press’ hilarious, moving, insightful book, titled Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion. Even those who claim to not care about ‘fashion’ should pick it up ( you still wear clothes don’t you? – I hope ). The thing is, this isn’t just a book about fashion, it is about the WORLD.

One of our largest industries is currently operating in such a way that lives are put on the line ( both human and animal ), and the environment is brought to destruction. What does that say about us – the consumers, the feeders of all this? We can’t separate ourselves from these problems, because we are the ones living with a desire for constant excess, show, labels and status.

Even though not a fashion brand, Apple puts this innate human desire on show every year when they release something new ( when it has a headphone jack at least… ). Queues line the streets as we want immediate upgrades, getting rid of our perfectly fine and functioning old version because of this desire for the ‘new’. Same goes with fashion. New trends, new fabrics, new looks. And we lap it all up.

The book had me on the verge of vomiting at times, knots lurching in my tummy, anxiety building. Necessary to incite a change. I came close to considering becoming vegetarian for good, and not just because of the meat expense. Do me, and the world, a favour and pick it up – you might become more cynical, more stingy, more angry – but something has to be done, and we can only start forcing a change when we band together. Borrow my tabbed, cornered and starred version if you must.

The biggest lesson for me is to pick your battles. It isn’t possible to find a brand that grows their fibres organically with no harm to the environment, uses sustainable production processes, loves their human workers, treats animals kindly at all times, and happens to have the most efficient distribution methods. Find what matters most to you and focus on that. Ditch harmful leather, embargo any label not paying at least a living wage or choose to shop locally always. If we each focus on even one aspect a revolution will occur.

On a lighter note – as the mornings become brighter and the temperature a little warmer, our toes are searching for a way to break free of the confines of socks and boots and sneakers. They want to be on show, pedicured or not, in a fittingly sustainable way. Palmaira Sandals are sitting on my wishlist, delivering all of the above. The comfy, practical and colourful creations are handmade on the island of Menorca, hiring local village workers to weave their traditional magic into each pair. The sandals have a wonderful simplicity about them, taking a conventional footwear profile and modifying in every possible way to build a range to suit all.

Whether you are after a flatform for striking streetwear, a casual beach sandal, or something a little more jazzy and glittered up for an evening of dancing and twirling, it’s there. Next step is to book an island getaway, bring out the bikinis and gaze at the reef for days. All while pondering how to change the world.

palmaira sandals glitter

palmaira sandals studded menorca

palmaira sandals sustainable fashion

palmaira sandals

(Images from here)

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find your dream :: pandora sykes.

Pandora Sykes has been on my radar, hanging in the peripheral, for quite some time now. There’s always an envy-inducing street style image in Tommy Ton’s fashion week compilations, and a hair cut to wish for. In the last couple of weeks though, this one-sided relationship has gone to the next level. Bordering obsession, but only because Pandora is so damn real, funny, and beautiful – some of my favourite things.

I scoured her blog – reading articles on the Hungry Bum syndrome ( I feel you sister ), the gunt we all dread and the dislike of our own boobs. Every article is a mini story of insight and laughs. Always touches the heart and speaks to my big-assed soul. I’ve learnt that Brazil hosts two annual bottom competitions, and that’s just the start of my new trivia collection. It’s not all bums though I swear. That probably says more about my strange reading habits and comedy-searching than Pandora’s own obsession.

Pandora is currently the Fashion Features Editor and Wardrobe Mistress columnist at The Sunday Times Style, completes the duo of the Pandolly podcast ( re-filling my ears with those English sayings and strange words I love and miss so much since the life redirection – an office without a swarm of Londoners is hardly worth the time ), dabbles in styling, and obviously publishes her hilariously perfected namesake blog, which I refer to as the UK’s one-woman answer to Man Repeller.

Since starting this blog, and discovering that I do in fact like to write and the English language can be considerably interesting, I’ve pondered the life of a fashion journalist. The hardest part now is a lack of Journalism or Literature or other fancy degree, and an aversion to writing in the proper way at all times. My written voice is the same as my talking voice. But Pandora, along with others including Leandra Medine, Amelia Diamond, and Clare Press, urge me to uncover that language on a deeper level. Play with it, but make it useful. Write for fun, and also inform. Use new words and phrases, dare with topics and make it all unique with your personal spin on life.

Time for some searched out lessons from Pandora.

– It’s not off-limits when it’s backed up with research. Take the bums for example. Taboo to some ( not I! ), but valid questioning and interviewing to give us one well-rounded ( ha ), opinion piece on the surge of loving bums. Who wouldn’t want to read that. As she has said in the past, wordplay is her foreplay. And her forte clearly too.

– Internships matter. As does making submissions and pitching freelance ideas.

– Be rigorous. Proof read ( woops ), keep it clean / simple ( again ) and find your tone.

– Look great always. Maybe not a prerequisite, but a worthy point to note nonetheless. Mix your style, test pieces out, and document the babing looks via photos. I sound superficial constantly adding this in as a list item, but it’s more than having a great wardrobe or body, it’s deep-seated understanding of fashion, building the outfits that depict you and having fun with it. Putting it on show to encourage the rest of the world too.

– Loving catalogues as a child is not weird. Had to add this one in for my own sanity, as a prolific circler of catalogue products in my child-years. Reassuring that I can still come to something more.

– Her advice, speaking to my soul : work your ass off. Work hard to deserve a good job, says the killer queen who freelances and blogs while also balancing a regular job. Rihanna was clearly singing about Pandy all along. I’m trying…

What have I learnt from doing these posts so far? Just a reconfirmation of what I already knew – I want to do everything.

And the style cues – a pair of versatile mom jeans, jazzy boots, a backless number up top, multiple fabulous rings, and of course some Bella Freud. Just the best ( now go and get lost in her style for a while ).

pandora sykes miu miu style

pandora sykes earrings

pandora sykes street style silver

pandora sykes gucci fashion

(Images from 1, 2, 3, 4)


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timing is everything.

I read a very important article on Huffington Post, titled ‘To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind in Life’.  How could someone have written an article so directly related to my current life situation, arriving in my Facebook feed at just the right time? Or maybe Facebook scarily knows me way too well.

A lot of my thoughts these days revolve around being productive, finding my dream, then setting an action plan to do just that. The exact dream just hasn’t been captured yet. I go off on various tangents but never settle on anything, or think of something I could actually DO.

Often that’s really stressful – I like to have a plan and something to work towards, a confirmation that my present floating is all for a good cause in the end and helpful. That my weird existence now will lead to something greater, make me a better and more determined person. But when I feel like I’m not getting any closer those big black doubts set in ( read: virtually every day at some point ).

This reminder that timing is everything is such a comfort in ways, although I am still ridiculously impatient. Maybe I won’t figure out what my next step is for a while, and I have to be ok with that. Timing is everything. You never know who you will meet, when you will meet them, and the opportunities that could flow on from that. Even an Instagram discovery, random email received, or LinkedIn message.

Listening to the latest Oh Boy podcast with Aurora James ( whom I deeply deeply love and admire ), of sustainable label Brother Vellies ( of course to feature soon here ), has also instilled this idea of often taking a while to come to that idea. After working some of the most random and unrelated jobs, a trip to Africa provided the inspiration needed ( just maybe I will have the same experience in a few weeks time? ), to then develop the successful business of today. One that pays fair wages and promotes the craft of the artisan.

I can’t just write a list and make it happen. Instead I have to trust that timing, take a chill pill, and get comfortable with watching Netflix and lazing – it’s not just about being actively productive or creative in every moment. They are words I already knew, but sometimes we need someone outside to shout them at us. It’s like a mini stone has been lifted off my back for a while. I’ll know it when it comes.

sunshine photo shoot

prada acne miu miu photo shoot

prada earrings photo shoot

miu miu headpiece photo shoot

(Images from here)

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when the world says no.

Some days it feels like the world just really doesn’t want you around. It pissed on your glorious sunshiney, gym-class, solid outfit morning. And that bitch enjoyed it. Every question is answered with a no, every call for help rejected. All faith is lost in the state government as they steal more and more money from those of us who clearly can’t afford to drive to work everyday, or even own a personal car. Then there are messages that you just can’t decipher – were they taking a stab at you, or actually being nice? The written word is never very clear.

At times I really struggle to push things like these out of my head and not give in to the dwelling, so the day temporarily takes a turn for the worse, only revived by a coffee ( if there are still any coins rattling in that wallet of mine ), a hearty home-cooked meal, and couch time. Hopes of a productive and creative evening disappear, because it really just requires a wine and some Netflix to distract and forget.

Yes, I know I think too much, and am way too melodramatic. Haven’t found a cure for that just yet. But don’t worry, by tomorrow I’ll be on to the next thing. I am also fully aware that these are the most minuscule, pointless thoughts to dwell on when the world is full of destruction and despair. I can still see the wider picture of life.

My other little fix – you guessed it – a burst of inspiration, meagre or massive. It opens the mind to bigger things and starts the engine of creative juices again. Right now it’s all about a burnt, dusty red. That hue breathes life and adds something to a fairly monochromatic wardrobe. It’s colour for the colour-sensitive. Natural and full of life. Immediately has me dreaming – let’s get embroidering friends.

sun kissing

aloe flowers

bowie red jacket

dusty red pants and slides

(Images from 1, 2, 3, 4)

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manspiration :: martine rose.

I’m always excited for summer, every time it comes around, but this year I think the feeling is even greater than usual. It’s all because I’ve come terms with the fact that the period may not be what I typically determine as “perfect”. It’s more about going with the flow and making the most of it.

So far the plan has worked. We had a good start to the season with a boat day, partly cloudy, but mostly sunny, brimming with espresso martinis and cheese – two of my favourite things. Ordinarily those spots of clouds would have crept under my skin, fueling the hatred of any darkness and destroying any chance of fun regardless, but not this time round. Clouds have been conquered. They can’t spoil my bliss times or my beach adventures. Beach in the rain? Sounds fun to me. ( But also, please, do give me some sunny times – a girl needs her Vitamin D ).

Excuse me for being selfish, but I’m not even relishing in this collection for the sake of fashionable men out there. It’s all for me, my own pleasure. It all just looks so damn COMFY. Maybe slightly sweaty in the midst of a summer heatwave, but sun-protective, so you can’t have it all. Martine Rose took inspiration from that second-hand feeling ( I wonder if they also happen to hold that lingering old-man-musty smell? ), and the clothes that get collected up for charity shipments – that mish-mash of texture, size, colour, proportions. The name ‘Susie’ worn as a badge on each garment ( we all wish we were Susie ).

Those denim wide-legs would have me floating on clouds, walking with a breeze in my step, while the short-shorts would suit for every other outdoor moment ( and offer optimal tanning non-coverage ). It’s almost like she had me in mind as the ideal customer – weighty jackets are quite a rarity in regular spring collections, but you know what, it’s more rare to see me without one. Whether sitting atop my shoulders or bundled in my baggage, it’s there. Thanks to the strange circulation and air conditioning sensitivity I battle. I’m just not sure I could pull off the lesser version of ski goggles and glasses chain. I’ll leave that for the true grandads out there.

martine rose spring 2017 menswear

martine rose vintage inspired

martine rose wide leg denim

martine rose granddad menswear

martine rose spring 2017 fashion

(Images from here)

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