First signs of summer

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Getting the best of Boxing Day

Getting the best of Boxing Day

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After usually giving it a few days to the crazed bargain hunters to retire and the shelves to have been tidied up a bit, for the first time this year I braved the boxing day sales on actual boxing day, I mean how could I resist when it was on my way home from work. 

For the first time of experiencing the January sales in London I definitely saw some of the true madness of it and I am not surprised why so many people have moved online. But if you are like me and prefer to go the the actual shops and pic things up in person its a good idea to go in with a  ready prepared game plan to tackle that madness head on! 

So I have come up with my top 5 items to splash the cash on and look out for this January. 

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COATS

It may be January but at least in the UK there is still plenty of winter left to get a great deal of wear out of a new winter coat. A good old winter coat is something that I definitely look forward to cracking out every winter when that cold weather comes back around (even if I do have to put the leathers away for a while). I definitely have a less is more approach with coats. Its always the way despite there being a lot of nice lower price ones available on the market, that the one you fall in love with that season has a slightly higher price point. If you are able to find that perfect one that will carry you through the whole season and years to come then in this event it is good to wait it out and catch a lovely little bargain in the sales! 

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SHOES 

As someone who will wear boots shoes all year round, winter is away the best time for me to buy shoes. Like coats, i’m not a big shoe shopper with being perfectly happy with a good pair of Dr Martens on a daily basis. However when this year I seem to have caught the shoe shopping bug and used the sales as the perfect opportunity to expand my shoe collection slightly. My fave bargain this year would have to be my pair of Adidas Gazelle trainers. I may be slightly cheating with this being a 40% off black Friday purchase but a winter bargain is a bargain right? 

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BOOKS 

Having always dreamt of having my own little library in my house consisting of floor to ceiling book shelves and a lovely collection of very instagramable coffee table books just casually laying around . Despite not owning a coffee table of my own, on many a day in Foyles I have spent stroking all the beautiful books they have on sale, most of that time spent wishing they weren’t so damn expensive with not even being able to justify them as being educational. But this year appear to be becoming more of an adult by the day choosing to spend my money on some good old reading material, potentially even throwing in a cook book or two. My favorite little find this year would have to be Bloom by the lovely Estee Lalonde. This is one I have been itching to read since it came out and I managed to pick this up half price at Olivier Bonas and have been flying though it not being able to put it down. 

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STATIONARY 

And with a new year ahead of us sometimes it is nice for us to literally turn over a clean page and start anew with some brand new stationary. With a small collection of un-used notebooks at the ready, I seriously don’t need anymore for myself however I thought I would let you in to the not very secret secret that the January sales is a great time to stock up for the year ahead. 

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THEATRE TICKETS 

This may be something that most people won’t think about during the January sales however there are some great deals out there at the beginning of the new year for various different offers on theatre tickets. If you are a theatre mad a I am then you will know that seeing some shows in  London can seriously eat up that weekly student budget. Their never going to be cheap but if you are able to find some money of any that you have been desperate to see then you would be stupid not to take advantage. 

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PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS | BRICK LANE LDN

21 for 21

21 for 21

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So another year rattled its way around and I now find myself somehow getting to the grand old age of 21. Seriously, how the flipping hell did that happen! It feels like yesterday that I was playing in sand pits and panicking about what GSCE’s I am going to take ( I can confirm that they were not both happening at the same time). 

Anyway, I thought I would bring the celebrations into blog form in a 21 for 21 round up, 21 special occasions to me from the past 21 years. Now I say 21 years, with my memory not serving me in quite as much detail the further back we go I’ve had to sort of narrow it down to the last few years. (but “21 for 21, well from the last 5 years of said 21 years” wasn’t such a catchy title.) 

These occasions may not have been special out of their grandure, just out of something small happening to make it feel special. Obviously there are going to be some that get missed too but these are some which have stuck out to me. So after a good old trawl through my Facebook to see what I have actually been up to without further ado in no particular order as I really don’t have the brain power for that, lets get onto no.1. 

p.s. those who don’t like theatre may avert their eyes.  

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1. Weekend away in the Isle of Arran

In a rather snazzy hotel with probably the best gravy I have ever tasted, we had a great time in a very cool location and managed to get some pretty great photos (even if I did have to freeze my feet off in a very thin dress in very cold water.)

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2. Pool (no water)’s final night show

 I’ve been involved in many a show over the years from being on the stage to my new life behind the scenes but the final night of Pool (No Water) will always hold a very special place in my heart. On the whole my 2 years at 6th form was a brilliant experience and it was great way to bring them to a close and say goodbye to some wonderful people who I loved working with. 

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3. Visiting Alton Towers in the summer of 2015

Take me anywhere which involved very high things and very fast things then its highly likely that I’m not going to enjoy it. But with best friends by your side it really did make some scary experiences so enjoyable. From getting on my first rollercoaster, to the creation of “Hampshire rules” in UNO (something even we will never truly understand) and getting well and truly “gazeboed” in a £22 a night hotel in stoke it all made for a very special and memorable experience. 

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4. Disney fancy dress party

 Rather ironically as someone who spent most of their youth performing and now studies costume I have never been much of a fan of fancy dress parties. But our disney themed fancy dress party in 2014 was fab with everyone giving it their all and creating some fab costumes, (maybe not including my slightly below average Mary Poppins), and having a great time and was the start to many a great party to come. 

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5. Filming Summer Falls

Give a group of 18 year olds some free time and access to some camera equipment and what do you expect them to do? Make a short film of course. with my silver screen debut (maybe more slightly grubby tin screen would be a more apt analogy) we spent 3 days from day break to dusk filming 

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6. STaG Nights scratch night

Genuinely one of the funnies nights of my life with the Student Theatre at Glasgow scratch comedy night proving sometimes that we may just be students, but there is definitely a lot of talent within us. 

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7. Getting into Guildhall

 Obviously getting a phone call while standing on a windy and rainy mountain in the middle of deepest darkest Shropshire trying not to be blown over was not quite how I imagined the moment I found out that I had got into drama school. Drama school was aways somewhere that I had dreamed of going to. It may have previously been for acting but now for my new life backstage in  costume I was over the moon to finally be moving down to London to one of the world’s leading schools. 

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8. Wicked lady rehearsal and Lightsdown

 This is one going a bit further back but devising and rehearsing this show basically turned into having a huge laugh and a giggle with obviously working hard to get the job done at the same time, obviously ;). I had a fab few years at Lightsdown Theatre School from being a student to a teaching assistant leading to far to many good memories and shows to mention with it being the highlight of my week for a long time. I will always hold some of the shows we did here as some of my favourites I’ve done and it was so great to be part of a group of people having the same passion for performing and theatre that I did. 

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9. The film “Pride”

 With the story line being such heartfelt one of a true story I will probably won’t be the only person out there who has any emotional attachment to this film. However, this is definitely one of my favourite films I have ever seen added to the first occasion of seeing it being with a very special person. 

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10. A level results day

Proving that all the hard work, late night, blood, sweat and tears had all payed off (even if I haven’t used any of that knowledge since!) 

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11. Me Before You premier

I think getting to sit next to Sam Claflin on the premier night of Me Before You, a film which I loved from the book and had waited so long to see was a stroke of luck leading to an evening that I will never forget. 

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12. All the other fab shows I have been a part of

 From Billy Elliot to 42nd to Macbeth and all the others in-between, all of these shows have lead me to some great times with some wonderful people and have shaped me and inspired me to pursue what started as a passion into a career. 

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13. Seeing Death of a Salesman at The RSC

As a theatre lover it is probably considered some sort of a crime to have only ever seen 1 show by the Royal Shakespeare Company but seeing Death of a Salesman in Stratford upon Avon in 2015 was a wonderful first show to see and the first of many to come. 

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14. My first textiles collection

I never imagined being someone who has their own textile design collection but at the end of my foundation year I had just that. Now it may not be on your Debenhams bed lined quite yet but now having my range of makeup bags with new designs sat waiting to be sewn together after my small break due to pure busy-ness, I’m determined to keep going with it. 

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15. Starting off Fabric Forward

Something starting as a new hobby just over a year ago has turned into something that has grown to be a big part of my current life.  It may not be getting 1000’s of views a day with sponsorship deals coming in every direction but I still love styling and putting together posts each week for the little community on here.  It may also have had a couple of face lifts and content direction changes, but it is still the good old miss spelt, badly punctuated and poorly scheduled Fabric Forward at heart! 

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16. So many shoots!

Kind of the thing which started off Fabric Forward in the first place. From those first few shoots me and Tom did in our home town we have trawled the country in search for cool photo locations and have come up with some pretty cool shots (if I do say so myself). I look forward to many to come!

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17. Barbican Ball  

Its not everyday that you find yourself in a room with the walls entirely covered in pink fur and Ru Paul booming over the speakers. However some how I did. As part of uni we were tasked to dress some mannequins to be shown at the Barbican Ball this year running along the theme of Vulgar which is their being exhibition going on at the moment. If you follow me on Instagram you my have seen a couple of pictures from the event on there. I’d never done anything like this before and was a really cool experience to be part of (along with having a new appreciation for people who dress mannequins, and I thought actors were difficult sometimes ;). ) 

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18. NYT Gala

This summer I became a member for costume of The National Youth Theatre and with it being their diamond year at the end of my course I got to work on their Diamond Anniversary Gala at the Shaftesbury Theatre in hair and makeup. This was my first occasion working and going backstage of a west end theatre so it was all very exciting for me. Despited being full of the worst cold I have had in years I powered on doing more victory rolls and beehives than I have ever done in my life. It was a long and tiring day but it was all worth it seeing such a great show come together (Plus and having Matt Smith acknowledge my existence in the corridor twice was the icing on the cake!)

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19. Working at The Libertine

 This year I  lucky enough to get the chance to do some work at The Libertine at The Theatre Royal Haymarket on The Libertine doing wardrobe maintenance on a Saturday morning. It may have only been washing and ironing shirts, but its washing and ironing Dominic Coopers shirts.

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20. Moving to London

I know this is something that came with moving to a university down here but moving to London is something at I have always wanted to do. I know many a young adult has said this same thing before me but but to live in such a busy and vibrant city with so much going on and the industry I work in centred down here is something I have always wanted. Sometimes feels a bit surreal that I am actually now here maybe partly not being quite as good as you thought it would be (the northern line at 5 o clock on a Friday would put anyone off!) Obviously is it not all plain sailing, realising you need to leave at least an hour to get anywhere and you wont find a cheap supermarket for miles but its the place for now that I call home and I promise to make the most of it.

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21. So turning 21

 It may not have been and intoxicating time partying the night away however spent with my nearest and dearest it was a time to say goodbye to the ups and downs of 20 and onto the next chapter of 21. 

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PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS 

Painting the town RED

Painting the town RED

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Now I can’t say that I am someone who is out every weekend “painting the town red” or blue or green or any colour for that matter. Staying in at home tucked up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and an episode of the crown on seems all too appealing. However when it comes to fashion, a good old piece of red is definitely is a good enough to get out of bed for. 

If there is any colour that I am going to be wearing that doesn’t make me look like I am going to a funeral then it is going to be red. From tops to dresses to scarfs all of these nestle within my wardrobe in a variety of different shades. Its a good old trusty colour for me with never feeling too girly but is versatile when pairing with other colours. I feel its a colour that never really goes out of season, being bright and colourful for the summer months yet an obviously festive option for the christmas period.

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Ever since I saw The Little Magpie repeatedly strutting her stuff in a gorgeous pair of Topshop red tapered trousers, I had been on the hunt to find a pair for myself. Funnily enough after searching high and low from high street to vintage, it all came back to Topshop with exactly what I was looking for. With them being a slightly more muted and darker shade of red I don’t think they end up being too bright and in your face. This style of tapered trouser is definitely a bit of a Chloe signature with them being great at showing of a waist with not being too tight and restrictive. 

I’ve never been one to shy away from red on the basis of it being “fattening” because at the end of the day if you like it and feel good in it, the bloody well just wear it! 

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PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS

TROUSERS | TOP

Spotlight on – Getting organised and proactive!

Spotlight on – Getting organised and proactive!

As I sit here surrounded by 4 notepads having just planned out my week ahead in acute detail, I do tend to think of myself as a rather organised person. There have been many times in my life where I wish I could get my nose out of my dairy and just let everything role along happily but with my brain seeming more sieve like than brain like, if its not written in my diary and well as being written on reminder post it notes and my daily lists, then it will get forgotten. Now with it still being the beginning of a new year (only just realised it is now February, that still counts right?), what better time for everyone to get organised and help get their life in gear. So here are a few of my little tips for trying to stay organised! 

IMG_3124LIST BOOKS 

We all know that extremely satisfying experience of being able to cross to tick something off a list right, well with being a list obsessive you get this lovely experience many times a day. 

One of these can seem like a little gift from god when times get busy and hectic. Being able to off load all the big and small things into one manageable list to work through seems to make my life a whole lot easier. But you do need to make sure that this list writing doesn’t go to far. It can be a dangerous business ;) Firstly don’t let it get to the point when you write ‘write new list’ on your list…been there far too many times. And secondly, try not to have too many notebooks not the go at once, you may forget which one your current list is then, then all hell may break loose ;)

WEEKLY PLANNERS ARENT JUST FOR MUMS 

Even if you don’t have to plan getting one child to football practice and another at ballet while taking yourself to yoga, weekly planners or diaries are the way forward. I like being able to put down everything I have planned for the week onto one page to see how much I have to do, If things clash and if some things need to be moved around. With being thoroughly stuck the dark ages this process definitely stays on paper for me and hasn’t yet sneaked onto the phone or computer. Like I like being able to hold a proper book rather than a kindle, I like being able to plan my week out with a paper and pen, add things in and cross things out (without messing up the perfectly neat handwriting ;) .) 

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STICKY NOTES CAN NEVER BE TOO CLOSE 

For the moment when inspiration strikes and no notebook or diary seems to be within easy reach, this is when that pile of sticky notes lurking in the corner of your desk has their moment to shine. I particularly love this pack from knock knock with the different colours and slogans. Now I can’t say I have much to delegate or much I can eagerly write down to put off, but out of pure beauty, they will get used on occasion.  

As much as I try to organise myself putting all the right steps in place, my productivity levels can drop towards the floor. With a cosy bed day in front of I Player looking so much more appealing than chaining yourself to your desk, (I’m really selling working here aren’t I) sometimes we just have to get round to it. So here are some of my top tips at getting proactive. 

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HAVING A ROUTINE (as boring as it sounds) 

Now I’m not expecting everyone to be getting up at 6:30 sharp everyday, having a kale and spinach smoothie, heading to the gym for a long work out and then effortlessly slipping back into your perfectly scheduled work routine (god knows I don’t do that,) however having a routine  can be so beneficial for being proactive. One of the most productive times of my life was when I was back in college. I look back on the days of getting up at 6:45 every day and wondering how the hell I did it, with me now being a uni student me and 6:45 have not met in a long time. But i think being able to do this was partly down to having such a rigid routine. With most days following the same sort of pattern, getting up and working felt a lot easier because your body does the exact same thing every day and knows what it has to do. I’m not saying that I used to spring out of bed wide awake and fresh as a daisy at 6:45, however being busy and having a routine works a lot better for me than getting up when I want and doing work whenever I want. 

PUT ON CLOTHES 

I’m not talking about anyone working in the nude should put clothes on, if that works for you then go ahead, but what I do mean is get out of those pyjamas and put of on some normal clothes. I like anyone else will always be inclined to have a lazy day of wearing lounge wear but just changing into jeans and a T shirt can make such a difference, separating yourself from relaxing mode to working mode. 

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PREETY STUFF IS COOL 

Im a sucker for anything with a pretty pattern on it, what can I say, i’m a textile’s student. But if i find a lovely pretty notebook or set of stationary I am far more likely to want to write in it, even if I don’t have anything to write! 

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MAKE STARBUCKS YOU NEW OFFICE (other cafe’s are available)

Now I’m not saying work out of the house everyday, staying in the conform of your home with snacks on tap can be very appealing however, however once or twice a week is a nice little change to freshen up our surrounds and get out of the house. Now dreading the day that baristas at my local cafe will say ’the usual?’, living in a big city I like being able to explore and go around and try different cafe’s (or at least just a different branch of Costa) to work.Also with this being somewhat of a trend nowadays to get productive over you pain au chocolat, sometimes it’s nice to work around other people doing the same thing as you, however the noisy family of 7 to your left throwing coffee around may get annoying after a little while. 

If you haven’t already had enough of me from this post please feel free to comment and like and I would love it if you could follow me at the normal places..

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