Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Sunnylife rainbow pool float fever

A daft fashion blogger's fantasy is being surrounded by all the pool floats with little concern over whether you actually have a pool or not. I don't have a pool, but I'm a true beach lover and all time summer baby crazy fashion blogger who craves poolside paradise in buckets and spades. I'd been after a new pool float to add to my collection this summertime (I already have a doughnut, a palm tree, a popsicle, an orange lolly, an ice cream...) you can see my full collection in all its finery here, so when I saw this Sunnylife Rainbow Pool Float it was sand at first sight. The dreaminess of the whole rainbow riot didn't let me down, I think it's definitely my favourite pool float so far, anyone that knows me well enough knows rainbows resemble my vibe dreamily so this scene was divinity. 2050 funfair ride idea: a rainbow pool float that soars you straight into real life rainbows, cloud nine notions and endless pots of gold. 

 Quay Australia always bring a bit of an exotic twist when it comes to summerbabin' shades so when I saw these orange tinted babes I just had to have 'em. Coupled with a white vest with netting crochet detailing that I bought way back in 2003 (say whaatttt) when early noughties fashion wasn't entirely ironic (or iconic), and a pair of Missguided's Riot rainbow high waisted shorts, my outfit peached truly tropical heights. The glittery white heels would be perfect for a wedding, safe to say I gave them a sass through the sand first as with all my impractical skyscraper shoes. I also have the same version of the shoes in pink, must say I'm madly in love with them still in both colours and it's a shame asos didn't have the heart to bring out a whole rainbow collection. 

All light-heartedness aside, the past few weeks haven't been the easiest and rainbows are uplifting and promising of a better bliss up ahead. I love how spirited they are, how comforting and soothing. I know a lot of us look up to them because we know after every storm there's a rainbow about to rise. I wanted to put together a really fun-loving post full of colourful fun to get us through these bleak winter days. Of course, these pictures were my first port of call... rainbow cocktail anyone? 

Let me know if you're a summer babe or a winter babe at heart! 
Are you a pool float lover? I can't get enough 😍


Monday, 13 November 2017

Your first smear test + why I regret not going sooner

Since opening up about my mental health on the blog earlier this year I've felt a certain shift in the pattern of my blogging; while still enjoying keeping up regular fashion content I also feel a prolonging need to voice and express issues and topics of significant importance that matter to me. One of those topics being going for your first cervical smear test. I put mine off for 9 whole months, during which my anxiety soared through the roof. Despite constantly thinking "I really should go", I pushed the appointment to the back of my mind and tried to pretend it wasn't there. I received the letter for my first smear test a few months before I was due to turn 25 in February 2015. The letter filled me with horror, worries of cancer and the whole invasion of privacy I felt giving me a nagging dread. I'd also heard from various people over the years that it's a pretty horrible experience which is off-putting enough in itself. 

It's hard not to shake images and concerns out of your mind, especially with something like your first smear test. I suffer from health anxiety (and have done since a young age), so my first smear appointment was something I'd long been worried about. I put my first cervical smear test off and off, even after receiving a few reminder letters. It was only when I booked in for an ear syringe in November 2015 that I decided to just bite the bullet and made appointment for my first smear test whilst at the doctors surgery. I felt physically sick leading up to the appointment, but knew it was vital that I went. 

  • I told the nurse it was my first smear test and I was a bit nervous 
  • It got a little bit painful as I was so tense so I spoke up, it then got better 
  • It was over within a few minutes, I couldn't believe how quick! 
I can't speak for all women and I know everyone's first smear test (let alone any smear test) will vary but speaking personally on behalf of my own experience, my appointment went so smoothly that my only regret was that I hadn't booked in for it as soon as I received my letter. The nurse was lovely, very kind and assuring. Although uncomfortable and slightly painful, the procedure was over as quickly as I hoped it would be. One of my biggest fears had been the invasion of privacy and the whole embarrassment I'd have to endure, but it soon hit me that it's nothing to be embarrassed about, this nurse was doing her job and this procedure is one we're lucky to have. It saves lives and it's so so important. You can read more about what to expect from a cervical screening test over on the NHS website here. I'd read up on so many people's experiences online, stressed about it and pushed it to the back of my mind for as long as I could but, at the end of the day, I did myself a favour by just biting the bullet and booking the appointment. 

  • It's easier to wear a skirt or a dress (I wore leggings as it was so cold!) 
  • Book an appointment for when you're not on your period 
  • On the NHS website they advise to book an appt in the middle of your menstrual cycle 
  • Treat yourself to something nice afterwards, I think it's well deserved! 
  • Also on the NHS site, some information about cervical screening results 
I wish I could stress just how relieved I was afterwards, and if you're meaning to make an appointment for your smear test and have been putting it off, I'd definitely urge you to go. As someone who suffers from health anxiety and was crippled with fear beforehand, I hope this post can be of reassurance to someone in the same boat booking or anticipating their first smear test. It's so important and vital and as I mentioned, my only regret was not booking that first smear test sooner. It really is worth going for it. 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Confidence tips for fashion bloggers when shooting photos in public

I first started my fashion blog four and a half years ago and what used to be shattered self-esteem has now sparked into something like contentment. One of my biggest worries when I started my blog was that I'd find it hard to constantly look through photos of myself, I knew there would be no hiding away from any insecurities I had. Thankfully it soon felt natural shooting photos and editing them, and it's given me much more confidence as a result. Now I'm happy in my own skin I can feel carefree when getting photos in public for my blog. That being said, I still get nervous before every shoot; it can be nerve-wracking, awkward and embarrassing at the best of times. Over the years we've shot in lots of different locations and we've had lots of different experiences; some good, some bad, most 100% fine with zero stress or hassle. You may have read my post on finding locations for fashion blog shoots, and I thought it was about time I shared some confidence tips for fashion bloggers when shooting blog photos in public. Of course this post doesn't just apply to fashion bloggers, hopefully if you're a bit unsure about photos of yourself in general, these tips might come in handy and give you a bit of a boost. 

I've heard people say "I wish I could shoot photos in public but my confidence holds me back..." and if you're one of those people I really want to try and change that. Hopefully you'll feel inspired and buoyed up by this post. It is possible and you can do it, I promise! It's not always easy but the buzz and excitement of creating something amazing to share on my blog with my readers makes it 100% worth it. 


Ideally you want deserted, quiet places where you can build your confidence gradually and get into the groove of things uninterrupted. Think spacious parks, lakes, castle grounds, beaches. Probably goes without saying, but go as early as possible to your chosen location and not during peak times. At the beginning we shot pictures out in public for the first time at a deserted lake which had lots of land and space, and we also regularly shot photos in my back garden, porch and then on my street. I wouldn't recommend shooting in a street (unless truly worth it); way too many nosy parkers who just can't resist a good gawp. It gets my blood boiling the amount of people who just stand there staring *bursts a pink blood vessel*. Graham also discovered a tucked away cove of a place which we still shoot at to this day. Due to it being quite secluded, often we go there in favour of more colourful eye-catching locations. 


People will always stare when there's a camera involved, and it can be hard not feel a lightbulb of self doubt flashing over you as they look and look and... yep, keep looking. It is rude and it is intimidating, but most people are probably just curious and wondering what's going on. A lot of people still don't understand blogging, and if they do, maybe they're just admiring your outfit (which is goals, of course). Most don't mean any harm but it can feel creepy when people stand there looking. I've called people out on their staring before, but now I just ignore them; you're just giving them the attention you should be giving to your photos and blog shoot. It isn't worth the hassle. 
I've had bad experiences before, a man once called my mum and I over to tell me I looked awful in my jeans which was pretty nasty and definitely ruined my day. There was also a time when a whole family stood watching us while we got the photos, a man in the group remarking bitchily "what's the point in them getting all those photos, they all look the same anyway". The kids kept running in our way and deliberately trying to photobomb us, and even though we'd overheard them saying they were making a move, they stopped by their car just to keep watching us. I felt so intimidated and it would have been easy to call it quits. But we kept going, and to this day it's one of my favourite ever photoshoots and blog posts. 
I've also had good experiences; one time a group of girls turned round and looked at us shooting photos. Immediately I thought they'd say something nasty but instead one of them put her thumb up, smiled and said "nice outfit". Another man said he liked my shoes (the pink glittery heels as well, what a total and utter babe!). Then there have been the funny moments; a guy asking if we were shooting porn nonetheless. Er, WTF? I was wearing a cardigan and tights at the time as well *ponders*. Another guy rolling his window down and calling out that it's November and I must be freezing. Yes, it was November and I was freezing. And a man walking two ferrets out on leads, the cutest sight ever!


If I find people are staring and it's getting a bit much, I just go over to the camera and pretend to be looking through the photos we've just taken. Anyone who's interested will soon move on, after all, who's going to stand there staring at you when you're looking down at a camera? I soon find people lose instant interest and hurry on and BINGO, time to get the rest of those outfit photos! 


Once Graham and I had planned to shoot outside a colourful shop in the dead of the winter. We'd assumed it would be quiet and everything would be shut, yet once we pulled up (after an hour and a half drive just to get there) the owners were doing a stock take outside with lots of boxes piled up. Gutted, I assumed we'd just have to give up on our blog photos; I'd chosen an outfit that I knew would look amazing against the aqua blue backdrop and the thought of leaving without getting those photos was devastating. I said perhaps we could talk to the owners and ask if they minded whether we got some photos, but I just assumed they'd probably say no. Graham kindly went to speak to them and they were the loveliest people ever, I don't think they knew too much about blogging but they took my card and happily let us take photos outside their shop. They even joked afterwards that we should come back in the summer (it was February and I was shivering in a glitzy pink dress, naturally). If we had given up without asking, I wouldn't have got the gorgeous blog shoot I'd been dreaming up for ages! 


A lot of people assume I live on or near a beach (which is 100% acceptable and I always take it as a major compliment) but I don't by any means; we live in greater London/Kent and to get to the nearest beach is an hour or so on a good day. In fact, one particular beach we love and often get blog photos at is two hours away. Don't let the thought of a location being miles away put you off, sometimes we've found locations whilst on holiday that have made for the perfect blog shoot location. It's always worth travelling a little further if and when possible - if I just shot pictures around my hometown and near where I live they'd all be grey, dull and more than a little colourless and F*CK that! 


If I'm feeling a bit nervous I always ask myself "what's more important, the strangers staring at me for a short space of time or creating content for my blog and readers?". The answer being, of course, my blog and my readers! I try and think of the bigger picture, it might sometimes be nerve-wracking, uncomfortable and intimidating shooting photos out in public, but I'm prepared to take that risk because at the end of the day I know the photos will bring joy to my readers, my blog and make me happy. It's the end result that matters, and who cares about strangers you'll never see ever again? They aren't important.


Once mum and I had planned to get some photos but on the day of our shoot I woke up and there was heavy snow spiralling down outside. My heart just sank. I assumed we'd call the blog photos off but when she said "shall we just go for it?!", I hurriedly pulled on my gemstone jeans and off we went. My outfit was hot and tropical and the temperatures were frosty and glacial so we didn't hang around for long but the backdrop of sparkling snow made it such an unexpected and enjoyable scene for my shoot, it actually worked so well with the outfit and has become one of my favourite blog shoots. If we had let the snow deter us, the pictures would never exist! 

I hope these tips will help you out if you're wanting to take the plunge and shoot some blog photos in public. Even if you don't think you've got a photographer, it's worth asking a friend/relative/colleague and seeing what they say, you never know they might be up for shooting blog photos for you and you can make it a fun event afterwards (my mum and I always go to Frankie & Benny's for a hot chocolate after a blog shoot and Graham and I often fit photos in around a fun day out). Go for it, everything to gain! 

Where do you shoot your fashion blog photos? 
Have you had any good/bad experiences? 
I'd love to know your thoughts below!