With the summer holidays approaching, and my trip to Barcelona booked! I've been guilty of a little SALE shopping recently. It's perfect because moving home has allowed me that extra money to treat myself again (I've really missed it!). I've rejoined my old gym so I can get some fitness classes in along with my running, just done a bulk order on Graze for some delicious protein snacks and I figured that with Winter behind us, it's only fair I update my summer wardrobe ready to show off all my hard work.
This month I've been obsessed with a few Instagram accounts, especially @mikafrancis, who is constantly styling Motel Rocks and it's made me fall in love with the brand. I've realised that I am a lot less conservative with my fashion choices now, which is most definitely a good thing. I buy a lot more clothes that have bold prints or patterns, and since I started hitting the gym many moons ago, I am more comfortable making daring fashion choices.
Motel Rocks just have so much style, it's a very bold brand, that I think are all about standing out from the crowd. The colours and prints are a graphic designers dream! It's literally made for me, there are a few items I'm lusting after (sadly some are out of stock in my size!), but they'll have to wait until next payday. I figured I would do a little haul of my collection so far, as I can see us being the best of friends in the future.
Unfortunately, with no festivals on the horizon, I have not quite managed to talk myself into one of the sequin numbers but I do have a holiday to shop for! It was far too tempting to resist, especially with the mid season sale, it's filled with summer staples we all need in our wardrobes.
First up swimwear, I am very fussy with this and being particularly self conscious I opt for swimsuits over bikinis. In the past I have gone for colour but don't usually try patterned pieces, that changed today with this stunning Amazona Off The Shoulder Swimsuit in Gypsy Heart by Motel. The design is truly beautiful with an aztec pattern and cutout, I thought it looked incredible (it was on a model in the photos remember). It was also just £10! I couldn't help myself. At £45 full price I might have been a little dubious because I don't get to use my swimwear all that often. I was surprised when it arrived how great the quality was, it also helped that the fit was perfect for my shape and I instantly felt comfortable.
I went with a size S (I'm usually a size 8 in Topshop if that helps) although this is classed as a size 10 on the website. Like most women I differ in size especially top and bottom, usually depending on fit I have to go for a 10 in some jeans (bigger bum problems) so I wanted to be safe. I'd say opt for a size up for most products. If you're an 8 or 10 then the Small should be a perfect fit. I can't wait to get in the pool now (hurry up June), I think it may be a little too much for a swim in my gym.
Next up was a very daring purchase indeed, this Leandra Slip Dress in Floral Eyelash Lace Black by Motel. The detailing totally blew me away online. I'm not often a midi person but this was so delicate and feminine that I figured it was worth the risk. At just £15 it was another steal! A little warning though, this dress is VERY see through, it would be perfect over a swimsuit for a beach day or with a bodysuit underneath. Maybe it would even work with fitted shorts and a crop top but I definitely wouldn't wear it alone for a night on the town.
Again the size S fit perfectly, it's simple and easy to move in which makes it perfect for taking on holiday. I've paired mine with black heeled boots but I think sandals would also look incredible. It works for me tucked into a skirt or jeans as well and I have worn it out already for dinner with a waist belt on top, there's just so much you can do to it!
My next item was another dress, Roppan Slip Dress In Burgundy by Motel. I was drawn to the colour of this its burgundy but with a hint of pink (this was just £15). The satin slip reminds me a little of nightwear so I think it's perfectly cheeky for cocktails while in Barcelona. I've paired it again with my River Island black boots, (these do go with absolutely everything) to add a little more sophistication. It's light and summery, so doesn't stick to my body, I think that I'll be strutting around in this one paired with my cat woman shades whilst on holiday. Definitely taking advantage of the Barcelona backdrop for some style shots in this.
My last outfit was a two part one, I paired together the Elena Crop Top in Rib Knit Orange by Motel along with the Volta Mini Skirt in Black Wash by Motel. Now, I did go for a medium in the skirt (again just £15) as I find that some materials aren't very generous around the bum and better safe than sorry. The crop top I was struggling between the red and orange (both were in the SALE for £12), but in the end I went a little more out my comfort zone.
The jumper is so vibrant and matches my new backpack perfectly (a happy coincidence), teamed with my new grey leopard print Nike trainers (another SALE purchase), it's the perfect outfit for city exploring! This look is comfy and casual but definitely makes a statement. I can even make this work with tights and boots in the Autumn months, so there's no chance of this one going away anytime soon.
I wanted to mention the next item to buy on my list, Sanna Slip Dress in Solar System by Motel. I would have bought this already had it not been for the unfortunate OUT OF STOCK message I was shown when selecting my size. Not to worry I will be keeping my eye out, and there are plenty of other items in this pattern that i could choose instead, if I have no luck with this dress.
That's it so far my summer holiday shopping list. I'm very happy with this and I know there will be plenty more orders to come, but so far so good! Motel Rocks may be my new go to for festival and holiday wear, especially when there is a SALE on. Until next payday, It'll be quiet on the fashion front.
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This weekend, I put down my laptop for a change and went out for an evening in Liverpool with my sister. If I go out now it's less about clubs & shots and more about cocktails & good food. I find myself craving new things and experiences so I try not to eat at the same places, which often means looking at Instagram food posts, to see where people are going.
For this outing we booked a table at The Alchemist, I've been dying to go here for ages and it did not disappoint. Our booking was for 5:30pm (only thing was I forgot the Grand National was on as well so it was lucky we booked a table ahead of time), we arrived into Liverpool with the sun shining, which I couldn't quite believe and in 15 minutes we found ourselves at the venue.
The interior was beautiful but I was instantly distracted by the gorgeous menu design, sorry my Graphic Design nerdy-ness is rearing its head again. I mean seriously though the menus where all printed with these delicate, detailed illustrations. A mixture of skulls and butterflies, science and nature I must have been admiring these for at least ten minutes. The gold and cream tones just gave it this ornate look and feel, I wanted to borrow one but was sure they'd notice, maybe if I'm brave enough next time.
The drinks menu is particularly impressive, especially when it's displayed as a periodic table of elements. However, this table has some serious science going on behind the scenes to create these incredible drinks.
We started with cocktails because I had heard this was a must at The Alchemist, it was the main reason I booked to go in the first place. However, I wish I had done a little more research there were SO MANY choices it made it difficult. My first drink was a Lightbulb Moment - this contained Gin, mint, Ginger Beer and was the perfect accompaniment for food, it was light and refreshing with a spicy kick. The drink came frothing in a beaker mounted on it's own little tripod, I was waiting for someone to pull out a bunsen burner. Once the drink stops bubbling away it's safe to pour into the glass and enjoy, which I certainly did!
Next up was the Bubblegum Daiquiri, this was like any frozen daiquiri but I had never seen a bubblegum one before so thought I'd give it a go. It was pink and sweet (as to be expected), there was an addition of popping candy that made it stand out. You don't need desserts here, the drinks themselves are more than sweet enough, especially with options like Key Lime Pie, Solero & Screwball (all on my list for the next visit).
Finally we had the Red Dead Zombie, this was blood red, bubbling like some kind of witches brew. With dragonfruit thrown in, it looked both delicious and deadly. Again, you had to wait for the drink to settle and when it did, I realised that it was also glittery. This one had more of a kick with two types of rum & orange liqueur, it was certainly strong!
Onto the food, my sister never goes too exotic with her food choices, she knows what she likes. We shared some of the popcorn chicken nibbles that was served with a cajun mayo (absolutely delicious, just a shame there weren't more of them), we ate them so fast I didn't take a picture. Then for our mains, she went with the beef burger and a side of fries, it looked amazing when it arrived and she definitely gave it a thumbs up, the fries were hot & crisp whilst the burger was very juicy and perfectly cooked. I went for the Popquorn Fajitas, as I've been eating more vegetarian foods lately (I couldn't tell you the difference they tasted like chicken to me). This was served quite theatrically, on a hot plate, the waitress poured the sauce over the mixture of vegetables and Popquorn, then I was left to assemble my meal. It came on a large tray with a selection of mini plates including guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese & lettuce plus wraps on the side. I've never been quite so full, the selection was delicious and it meant I could build the wraps exactly to suit my taste and eat some of the vegetables straight from the hot plate.
There food menu was very varied too, there were plenty of vegetarian options and I am already craving the Katsu Chicken, Ramen Dishes & wish I had ordered the Macaroni Cheese Bites! I saw plenty of plates pass our table, each looking more delicious than the next. I may see if Danny fancies a visit next month...
My experience was amazing and I will definitely be back! Even if it's just to try and make my way through the amazing table of drinks. The place is perfect whether you want a sit down meal or if you just want a bar to go and have a couple of drinks.
We headed to the Underground Gin Society afterwards for a few drinks, which is right around the corner so definitely nip in there if you can. The bar is relaxed, and we found it to be pretty quiet which was a welcome escape from the madness building in Liverpool (which is to be expected on the weekend). The music was great and they even had some typography on the walls that I couldn't resist snapping on my way out.
I definitely think I need to start exploring Liverpool & Manchester again more, I used to visit nearly every week while at uni but you find working life makes it a little harder. I do have plans to try All Star Lanes in Manchester next with Danny! That should be happening in the next couple of weeks, who doesn't love booze & bowling (what a perfect combination), so keep an eye out for that review coming up!
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With the whole Australia hold up thanks to Chewies mishap (he's doing fine now), I was feeling a little blue. For me travelling plans are something I always have in place whether its 8 days, weeks or months in advance, I love having an adventure to plan for. I'm already making them for the next 12 months, Australia & Trek America 2019 are officially happening!! However, after the delay for my Australia adventure (October will be here before I know it), I couldn't help thinking my summer calendar was a little sad. This simply wouldn't do, especially with my Birthday being bang in the middle of the year, I figured I needed a new plan.
My sister who I travelled to Amsterdam with felt the same and so we agreed we both needed some sun. This led to a back and forth of where we both wanted to go, she wants beaches, I want cities, she wants sunshine & shopping, I want culture & sightseeing...
Eventually we came to a conclusion - BARCELONA!!!
We've just booked our next destination, and we're staying in a gorgeous 4 star hotel for the week (which I am majorly excited to shoot in). I couldn't be more excited, or more gym motivated! I'll be taking all my new kit including the camera and tripod. With a rooftop pool to check out, I'm bound to be shooting some sunsets poolside not to mention a timelapse of the city. There's some beautiful hidden spots a few of the bloggers I follow have kindly shared which will be the perfect escape from the crowds.
The city is a haven for architecture, history and culture, I can't wait to get on that plane in just 9 weeks time! It also gives me an excuse to do some holiday shopping, get some serious gym workouts in (Barcelona body in the making) and I've been looking on GetYourGuide.com at the activities we can start booking. The summer is looking seriously exciting, I will be turning 25 after we get back but I'm planning a little weekend escape closer to home for that. I don't think you can ever have too many plans, at least that's the way I like to live my life. Planning one adventure at a time...
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This is a hard post to write, particularly because it's emotional for me. My little trouble maker Chewie got himself into quite a bit of trouble indeed, last Thursday morning when I woke up, before going to work he seemed a little off. He wouldn't eat a treat or any scrambled eggs, he didn't go outside when I opened the back door... but my mum insisted he was probably tired and so off to work I went.
He wasn't tired, in fact he was in a lot of trouble. Over the coming hours, emailing back and forth with my parents, they decided to be safe and take Chewie the vet. His blood tests came back normal, so they decided to X-ray his stomach, this came back showing his stomach was full of something soft & spongey. The next step was an endoscopy, they didn't want to make him throw it up as they weren't sure of the substance so this was the last step to avoid theatre... Chewie inevitably ended up in theatre and the following few hours are some of the worst of my life so far.
My parents rattled their brains to try and figure out what had happened, what could he have eaten. After speaking to the vet it turns out that on Wednesday morning the dogs had been fighting over a shower scrunch (not sure where they got it from), my dad got up and took it off them after maybe a minute or two when he came out the downstairs bathroom. It was ripped up but he assumed since they were fighting over it they'd just pulled it apart. We had no idea Chewie had eaten some of it.
Accidents happen, and Chewie while I write this is over a week post op and he's eating, drinking and even tottering / bouncing around the house again. Stretching his little legs. My fur baby has six stitches on his stomach and the mixture of anger, sadness and happiness I feel has been exhausting. The last few days I barely ate, slept or even looked after myself, I couldn't leave his side because I didn't want to not be there if anything happened. I realise it sounds like he's my kid but it's not dissimilar to parenting.
It's mad to think just a couple of months ago he was coming into my life. The bond I have with him now means the world to me, and if anything happens to him (I know eventually, when he is grey and old we will part ways), especially because he is still just a baby, it would be devastating.
The whole thing has cost a small fortune (until I hear back from the insurance), which has made me a little skint this month. My plans have gone out of the window making me feel a little lost. I'm sure in another week I will have sorted everything out. With the flat move, waiting on my flat deposit money, travel plans, freelance work and then this it's been one hell of a start to the month. I'm looking forward to getting back on track next week.
I've finally moved everything back home, which means I can officially spend all my time with him outside of work, when I'm not at Danny's or in the gym. Australia looks to be on hold for now (working on new dates as we speak) so that's a bummer, but it's more important he gets better. He's sleeping 50% of the time, but I'm not surprised by that. Hopefully this time next week he will bouncing around a little more but until then, he's a very spoilt pupper.
Go follow @chewie_the_woofie on instagram for updates on how he's recovering.
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This month I have done a little more shopping than usual (thankyou freelance work). A little extra cash that I have spent on some new clothes, beauty products, vinyls and more. I've been very fortunate to be able to invest in my new camera & tripod. However, the stuff on this list is a little more frivolous, they're just things I genuinely wanted and treated myself to over the last couple of weeks!
Here I share with you 6 things I've bought this month I am obsessed with!
Hollister Beanie - I did a huge number of the Hollister SALE! I bought a bundle of stuff and saved nearly £200! This included some shirts, a dress, cardigan but the item I have used the most you'd find in the accessories section. My beanie collection currently stands at 6, I have a pink pom pom one, a colorado mountain hiking one, a 'Donut Worry' one by Katie Abey & more. I have a thing for collections, my hoodies and sunglasses selections have been building recently too! In the UK you can always use something to keep you warm (even in Summer). The bright pink beanie from Hollister is such a statement piece, it's very simple with a black label on the front and the Hollister logo on display, it's going to be seeing a lot of the UK this year, especially when I get chance to climb another mountain.
Topshop Depop Jumper - I only very recently started using Depop because I am a little cautious with buying from other people. Usually I save my money by shopping in SALES but the bonus with Depop is you can sell your stuff too, and search for specific sizes or keywords. It's good if you have a specific item in mind, I've bought vinyl and pop vinyls off here so it's not just fashion! My favourite find was a Topshop jumper I have never seen in the store, it's an aqua blue with dots of pink, orange and blue sewn in to the fabric. Hard to describe so a picture does it better, but in person it's the most gorgeous jumper I own and it'll be perfect for those cool summer days.
Warpaint Vinyl - I hadn't bought any Vinyl albums in ages, so I figured I was due a couple of new additions. This month I got a bright red coloured vinyl of Arcade Fires, Everything Now. Along with this I found the Warpaint Album, this is a double LP and the vinyl even has Warpaint etched into the vinyl. The album is stunning and I couldn't resist having the vinyl version it's just so much better than a digital copy, I love playing it in the background when I am working.
Manfrotto Tripod - Obviously I had to mention this! My camera is amazing but the real highlight is my tripod because this is going to seriously make a difference to my shots. Usually I would just go for the cheapest option but after the Media City Course with Alice I learnt how much of the editing should be done in the camera. You want to be getting the best shots you can not just saying I will edit / fix that afterwards. I don't mind a shaky look to my travel vlogs, but not on every shot as it makes it amateur. The tripod adds a professional finish and for shooting locations, landscapes or fashion. It'll be great to set it up and let the motion happen on screen not behind it.
Groot Pop Vinyls - Now my Pop Vinyl collection isn't massive, I only have 10 (and 2 were given as gifts). I don't buy many because if I started I might never stop! I've limited it to Star Wars, Stranger Things & Guardians of the Galaxy. I have Eleven & Hopper, Chewbacca & a limited edition Porg, but my favourite are the Groots. My Groot collection stands at 5 (and a starlord thrown in for good measure), I don't know what it is about these but I just love them and they stand proudly in my home workspace. There are a couple more I have yet to find but that's part of the fun!
Sanctuary Spa Beauty Sleep Face Mask - This month I also had to overhaul my makeup bag, everything was running out! I switched up my foundation, mascara and a few other bits, trying different products from Revlon (my go to cosmetic brand). However, I never use much skincare stuff, I always buy it and then after a week it sits in the bathroom. Whilst in boots I wanted something for my face, I luckily have pretty good skin but it pays to take care of it. I came across the Sanctuary Spa Beauty Sleep Face Mask, which you just put onto a clean face at night, go to bed and in the morning your skin feels refreshed.
For someone like me who can be a little lazy with the beauty stuff (mainly due to the work schedule and moving around over the weeknights), it's perfect. I can pop it in my bag so no matter where I am going I can use it and it's really made me feel like going natural to work, because I've noticed how much cleaner my skin feels.
We all need a little splurge now and then, whether you want to buy trainers, makeup or chocolate, don't deny yourselves a few little things because they can really make all the difference to your month.
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I mentioned on here I was taking part in March Meet The Maker Month! It was a very successful project and I thoroughly enjoyed having to think about what inspires me to fill my Instagram posts for the month. I thought I would include a couple of my favourite ones and the captions that went along with them, especially as for a few I designed some little pieces.
Here are five of my favourite maker moments...
It's worth taking part in these sorts of projects because social media can help connect you with so many talented people! There's a lot of networking to be done online now, not everyone sees how important social media is to your personal and professional lives. I am only just realising now how much of an impact it can have on my career and future.
I've met some great people and even collaborated through the use of social media! It's how I communicate with friends overseas and now how I show people exactly what I can do.
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Aby, 24. Northerner.