Barns and Bowler Hats

Living on a farm in the North-East countryside has always left me feeling isolated, but on todays like today I can't help but love it. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, and there wasn't an escaped lamb in sight, making it just about the perfect Spring day! (If only I hadn't spent most of the day crying my eyes out over my horrible essay writing skills...)
The 70s trend is going nowhere this Summer, and inbetween suede skirts, denim and thigh high boots, the high neck is having a bit of a moment. This polo swing dress is made of the softest, most comfrotable jersey and is just perfect for throwing on on those days where you're just lounging around but want to look put together at the same time. The dress is quite simple, so I threw on a layered necklace and vintage bowler hat to add a bit of funk.

Now go, throw on a fedora and some sunglasses and make the most of the sun, I can just feel those April showers coming.....

Dress- Boohoo (similar)
Necklace- Asos
Hat- Vintage
Bag- Primark
Ring- Family Heirloom
Shoes- Primark

Inspirational Bloggers: Anna Swabey

One of the most amazing things about being in the blogging sphere, and sometimes the thing that is overlooked, is the people and blogs you discover. Recently I came across such a blog, by a young 23 year old called Anna Swabey.

In January 2015, Anna Swabey was diagnosed with a terminal Grade 3 brain tumour, and her blog Anna Swabey: Inside My Head not only follows her treatment journey, but also raises awareness about brain tumours. This incredible blog is not only imformative and heartfelt, but the gratitude that Anna feels towards her family and friends and family, along with her determination to leave her mark is amazing.

Not only is Anna writing this blog, but she is also organising a charity ball for the Brain Tumour Research Campaign (BTRC),a charity that was set up in order to raise awareness of the need for more research into brain tumours.

If any of you would like to learn more about Anna, and her fundraising, then head over to her blog, facebook page or the BTRC website, I have popped all the links down below.

Anna's Blog: Anna Swabey: Inside My Head
Anna's Just Giving Page
Brain Tumour Research Campaign Website
Anna's Facebook
Anna's Twitter: @braintumourblog

Thou Shall't Not Compare

 (Photo credits go to my boyfriend, who took this whilst I wasn't looking)
The 21st century has led us to question everything. Whenever we are on the verge of making a decision, we always question it, wonder if there is something better out there, and then proceed to go search for it. This never ending cycle of questioning, and looking for the best, has lead us to comapre everything; houses, clothes, grades, and even our lives. And when it comes to comparing every aspect of our daily lives, things can get sticky.

Comapring my life to that of others is one of my biggest faults as a person. I am forever comparing how hard I work with that of others, my achievements, and even my relationships and success, which often leads me into despair. No matter how hard I try I just can't seem to help questioning why even though I work harder than that person, they got better grades. Even though I try to do what is right, other, less self sacrificing people have it better. And why, even though I have been in a relationship longer, I know my boyfriend less than others in relationships. Not only does all this questioning lead me into despair, it leads me into the horrible feeling of jealousy, and I begin to come so sour that I dislike myself. What I don't understand is why I feel this need to compare? Why I can't just be happy with my own life, my own achievements, my own relationships.

Comapring yourself to celebrities is one thing, often these comparisons are unreachable and the likelyhood that we will even achieve or have what they have is slim. But when you begin to compare yourself to those around you, to your family, friends and class mates, thats when level headedness and acceptance gets thrown out of the window. My obsessive need to question and compare is beginning to affect my relationships and academic life too. My jealousy is perturbing and upsetting my boyfriend. The questioning of why my hard work isn't yielding the same results as others is causing me to give up, to not work and just say 'What's the point?'. All this has got to stop.

In a consumer and achievement driven society comparing our lives, our successes and our relationships to others is always going to happen, and in some cases, a little bit of competition is good. But when we start scrutinising every little detail of our lives, our successes and our relationships with others, when we start measuring out success against that of our friends and family, that's when it gets dangerous. So from now on I am going to attempt to be proud of myself, acknowledge when I have worked hard, and achieved something that is good for me, no matter what those around me are doing. I am going to stop comparing my relationship and just be happy that I am in it, I have a boyfriend who loves me, and that is amazing in itself, it shouldn't matter what other sprinkles and sparkles other relationships are getting on top. I am Hope, I am happy, and my life, although not perfect, is full and plentiful.

Primark Blues

Being a student at York University means that I am deprived of a Primark, and I have to wait till I come back up to Newcastle to get my Primani splurge. Returning for the Easter holidays was no different, and upon entering Newcastle I headed straight to get my Primark fix.

I was a bit apprehensive about these blue patterned trousers, as they aren't normally my style, by the high-waisted fit makes them the perfect addition to a little lace crop top. Throwing over a slouchy knit polo neck makes this outfit the perfect transitional Spring/Summer piece.

Blue Lace Crop Top- Primark
White Crop Top- Primark
Trousers- Primark
Shoes- Priamark
Bag- Vintage
Ring- Family Heirloom
Watch- Vintage
Jumper- Topshop (similar)
Scarf- Vintage

Living with Regret

Regret is something that everyone lives with. It can be the simple things we regret, like eating that extra cookie at lunch, to the big things, like having not revised enough for an exam. Parents and friends teach us to let go of that regret, to stop holding on to something you can't change, to forget the big regrets that when thought about can eat away at us. But what if, like me, you can't forget about that regret? What if you carry the burden on your shoulders, until the crushing weight is just too much to bare?

A few days ago I found myself lying awake in bed thinking about all the major things in life that I regret. I mean, I've had some horrible break ups, to the point where I'm actually ashamed at who I was and how I reacted,where the regret wells up inside me and produces tears. Even the one break up that I thought was healthy, where we were friends, good friends, has ended up turning sour. And it was this regret, this feeling that if I had behaved differently, acted differently, then maybe I wouldn't be lying in bed now, crying my eyes out at something I couldn't change.

I'm the type of person when if something doesn't turn out right, if someone gets hurt or is unhappy, I blame myself. I always have, and its a contributor of my social anxiety and depression. Always trying to make things turn out perfect is unsustainable, and not being able to cope with the regret is a huge part of this.

My boyfriend is always telling me that I need to try and forget my regrets, the little things such as giving up ballet when I was 6, to the big things, such as not pushing my anxieities during my first term at Uni leaving me with little friends. It is not so much that I regret my life, there are plenty of things that I wouldn't change, that I don't wish I could go back and repeat, that I don't regret. But more and more, as I am left with my own thoughts and worries, I find myself travelling my well trodden path to regret.

I feel in part that I am writing this post in an attempts to make me stop regretting my life, as if typing and seeing the words in front of me will make me change my ways. I also feel as if I am writing this post for all the things, all the actions, and to all the people that I regret.

So, to all the hobbies I quit, to six year old me quitting ballet, thirteen year old me quitting the cello and eigtheen year old me quitting Chinese, I am sorry. But at the time you were miserable in ballet, had so much stage fright that you were afraid to play to your own cello teacher, and stressed so much about Uni work that extra Chinese lessons were just not plausible. They just weren't right for you at the time, now you are picking up ballet again, and you can always learn a language or an instrument in later life. Just stop regretting them!!

And to all my human interactions I regret, to that first boyfriend who broke my heart, who I acted so crazy to whilst desperately trying to cope with my depression, that they no longer wanted to associate with me, I'm sorry. I was hurt, I was very sick, and I've spent years regretting it, but now I'm going to stop, whats in the past is in the past. To my friends who I have treated badly, especially during the worst year of my illness, I've regreted you having to see me like that and how I behaved every day, even if for the most part I couldn't help it. But instead of regretting you, I will move on, and actively try to improve these relationships.

To all the things I didn't try, to all the socieities I didn't join, to all the people I was afraid to talk to, and to all the times I desperately wanted to go out, to party with my friends or watch a movie but was too anxious too, I am sorry. Yes perhaps this fear of socialising has impacted on your life to such an extent that you barely go out, that at Uni you have little friends, that even your own mother is concerned about your lack of social life, but there is no point wishing you could go back to the start of Uni, to the start of sixth form, there just isn't. So stop living in regret, and actively change it, go out, try to socialise, and talk to people!!

And finally to my most recent break up, and my best friend, I regret everything that transpired with us, from attempting to be your friend, to breaking your heart all over again, to now, where you aren't allowed to be my friend. This regret is a little raw and fresh to bare, but over time, like the rest of my regrets, I'll find myself writing a letter to myself, and moving on.

If everyone were to hold onto their regrets, no one would live, no one would try new things or actively seize the day. We would sit at home, curled up in fluffy socks and animal themed pyjamas (maybe that is just me, but you get the idea) and wallow in our losses, our regrets, and our grief over them. But instead, as I have seen, life moves on, people actively take the reins over their life, they learn from their regrets and mould themselves into the person they want to be, someone their friends, family and most importantly themselves can be proud of. So I encourage everyone out there burdened with regret to join me in this journey, it'll be tough, but hopefully we'll all come out of it lighter, happier and with a new sense of freedom.

Tiny Tea Detox

Recently I have been feeling really tired, a bit sluggish, and incredibly self-concious, to the point where I tried on about 5 outfits until I resorted to a baggy jumper and jeans in order to hide my bloated belly. The combination of being rather poorly, looming exams and the murky Spring weather had left me feeling down, and in desperate need of a little shake up.

I'd been considering doing some kind of detox for a while, and had read a lot about various ways to eat healthy, exercise and generally just feel better about yourself. But with the amount of caffine I was consuming via my daily cups of tea, along with the numerous cups of coffee I was drinking to stay awake, I was still feeling sluggish, stressed and bloated.

Tea toxes have been flying all over the internet, and I thought substituting my normal caffine fuelled drinks with a detoxing tea would be the perfect start to a healthier me. Originally I was planning on buying Bootea as I'd seen it everywhere and it was easily accesible due to it being sold in Holland and Barrett, but the whole concept of a 'Night Tea' which sounded a lot like a laxative wasn't for me. Then, whilst scrolling through The Little Magpie's snap envy Instagram account I saw her using a product called Your Tea, which was a company specialising in various herbal teas to help you with anything from weightloss to fertillity, happiness to sex.

I purchased the 28 day Tiny Teatox as I felt it was an all rounder sought of tea, helping with indigestion, bloating, cellulite, bad skin and energy. Taken three times a day, half an hour before each meal, this tea has made me feel so much more energetic and happy about myself. I even managed to do a bit of cardio, strength and yoga every day. The fact that you take the tea three times a day also made sure I ate three meals a day and gave my day some sort of structure. I would highly recommend this tea for anyone who wants a little bit of a detox, whether for weight loss reason, or like me, just to put that extra spring in your step.

P.S. For those busy boddies out there I highly recommend the 'Sworkit Lite' app, which allows you to do short workouts when you are pushed for time, working on various different areas from strength to cardio, pilates to yoga. I've been opting for three short 5 minute workouts a day, but the app allows up to 60 minute workouts in the various categories.

Care Packages at Uni

I have now come to the end of my second term at Uni, and let me tell you, its been a busy one! With work really picking up, and tonnes of essays and reading to do I've barely had time to sit down and write, as my lovely followers may have noticed. Drowning my laptop didn't help either, who knew water and electrical items didn't mix!? Joking aside it has been really hard to cope with daily life and Uni without a laptop and internet, from not being able to check my bank balance to reading my degree articles. My anxieites over using the Library haven't helped, but luckily my boyfriend and flat mates have been super helpful whilst I've been sans laptop. How my parents got through three years of Uni without a laptop or internet I'll never know.

Now, ramblings aside, todays post is about creating themed care packages for your friends or loved ones whilst they are away at Uni. I have received some incredible care packages over the past two terms, from a 'Tacky Christmas' gift box to a 'John Hughes Movie Night' so here are three ideas for themed care packages to make the stressful studying of student life that little bit bearable.

1. John Hughes Movie Night- The first themed parcel I received and would highly recommend is a themed movie night. Featuring the movies Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything and The Breakfast Club, complete with a Waitrose Chocolate Selection, Percy Pigs, Popcorn and some money for a bottle of wine, the perfect movie box is created. A love of John Hughes movies has always been something me and my Mum have loved, but you could easily mix up the movies to suit your recipient.
2.  Tacky Christmas- For those students you know who are missing home over the festive season, and who are envious of their younger siblings getting to decorate the tree at home, this box is perfect. Head to pounland and fill with tonnes of tacky Christmas decorations, and some festive chocolate, a ginger bread house and some snow in a can, and your recipient and their flat mates will be singing Christmas carols the whole term through.

3. Rocky Horror Picture Show- Everyone needs a night off then and again during the exam season, and what better way than with a Rocky Horror Movie night. Along with a copy of the movie, add a sparlky top hat, feather boa, chocolate, Test Tube Shot Glasses, and copious amounts of alcohol. Just make sure they invite you to stay when they celebrate the night!!
There are so many unique and creative ideas you could do, and they are so easy to personalise to whoever is receiving it. Whilst at home over Easter I am even sending my London boyfriend a North-East care package, full of Newcastle Brown Ale, a Newcastle Shirt and other great Geordie themed items!!