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Ciao, bella!

So here’s a little story…

When I was 2 I used to live in Italy. It always comes up as my ‘fun fact’ when I have to introduce myself to a big group of people that I don’t know.

At the time I was completely fluent in Italian, I used to pop down to Mario’s at the end of the road and pick up a loaf of schiacciata (salty bread) to devour back at our villa.

Now, however, despite studying GCSE italian as part of my degree, I am useless.

My boyfriend always laughs at me as I tried to impress him when we first met by telling him I could speak Italian. I got myself in a v sticky situation though when we ended up on holiday in the Cinque Terre two months later and he said ‘go on then, you order the food’.

All I could say was ‘ciao’. LOL

So when I saw this BEAUT top on Anthropologie‘s website, it felt only right to pair it with a pair of vintage tartan trousers and pose outside of a pizza shop. Unfortunately no pizza was ordered (this wasn’t cause I’m in Italy lol, I just don’t think I’ve quite got to that stage in my blogging career where I can pull off posing with a pizza slice like Isabella Thorsden).

Anthropologie are absolutely bossing it at the moment. Look at those beautiful Tretorn platform trainers too (anything to give me a bit more height)!

I hope you like the photos below, ciao bella!

 

Outfit details

Anthropologie Sol Angeles t-shirt £58*

Anthropologie Tretorn trainers £88*

Urban Outfitters urban renewal trousers £46

*features press samples, see disclaimer

 

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A Parisienne Tights Subscription: Gambettes Box

 

 

So here’s a little story about why I love Twitter. My sister asked for some patterned tights for Christmas, but not being quite up on the hosiery market, I had no idea where to look. When I tweeted asking for advice, the absolute babe that is Georgia replied and said I should check out Gambettes Box*, a subscription service that delivers 2 pairs of tights through your letterbox every month. So I signed up, ordered a box, and the minute the tights came to my flat, I fell in love.

 

What is a Gambettes Box? 

 

Designed in Paris, Gambettes Box delivers two pairs of beautiful tights every month. And I’m not talking cheap, snag-on-the-first-day tights.  These are beautifully made with a unique design, and the most Parisienne packaging you’ve ever seen. When I received my first box, I wanted to pull my new tights on, grab a café au lait and skip gaily down the Champs Elysées (instead I pulled them over my sausage legs and took photos round the corner from my flat, making sure the local Greggs was not in shot).

 

What do you get in a Gambettes Box?

 

The joy of a Gambettes Box is that you don’t quite know what you’re going to get every month! The tights are a complete surprise, but from the two boxes I’ve received so far, they’re always elegant and stylish. The packaging is absolutely beautiful too, complete with French quotes, and postcards of models styling the tights. They make great presents for your gal pals’ birthdays and they’re an absolute bargain at only £13.90 per box (I even have a cheeky discount code below too!).

 

Where can I buy a Gambettes Box? 

 

Gambettes Box is a subscription service, so you get a box monthly but if you just want to buy 1 box, you can! You sign up to the subscription and then cancel the service when you’ve collected enough beautiful tights to last you a lifetime! If you don’t cancel the subscription you’ll still be delivered a box a month, but it’s pretty much a rolling contract. And the brilliant thing is guys, that because I’ve teamed up with Gambettes Box, you can get £2 off your first order! All you have to do is use the code:

GAMBETTESEMMA

Click here to order your first box: https://www.gambettesbox.com/#ae165  

 

I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful patterned legs! (not in a weird way…)

Emma x

*Features press sample, see disclaimer

 

 

Outfit Details

Olive Clothing khaki wool mini skirt £48

Gambettes Box patterned tights £13.90 (for two pairs)

Hollister black turtle neck (similar)

Accessorize black wool beret £12

Primark black loafers (similar)

 

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A weekend in Dorset

Walking along jagged cliffs, breathing in sea air, and drinking lots of wine in cosy pubs with open fires. Have I just described your perfect weekend? Because I have definitely just described mine.

There are so many beautiful places in the UK to explore, and Dorset is one I’ve barely touched (despite living just down the road… #embarrassing) I spent last weekend with my boyfriend’s family in West Bay, which I was very excited to find out, was where they filmed Broadchurch!

We went on the most beautiful walk along the cliffs on Sunday morning (photos below) and I wore my fave new FILA colour-block sleeve jumper, which you can buy here. I hope you like my photo diary below!

Emma x

Outfit details

ASOS Fila Sweatshirt with colour block sleeves £55

Patagonia Grey Recycled wool hat £25

Accessorize Sterling Silver earrings £10

 

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How to wear yellow

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I am (very) prone to wearing a lot of black.

Anyone else scared of bright colours? Cause I am TERRIFIED.

But this year, I am embracing ‘terrified’, so hence, in this post, I’m wearing bright colours! If you’re a bit wary like me, team a bright jumper with black jeans and accessories so the colour is the focus of the outfit. Et voila, you’ve nailed it!

This gorgeous mustard/ochre yellow jumper is from Oasis and it’s a perfect colour to wear in time for Spring. (Basically just tryna dress like a daffodil)

What fashion fears are you going to conquer this year?

Outfit details

Oasis Cable Knit jumper in Bright Yellow £36

ASOS Brixton Womens Baker Boy hat £40 (perfect for small heads!)

Urban Outfitters BDG black skinny jeans £45

Urban Outfitters Western Leather belt £28

ASOS Vagabond black leather boots £80

 

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A festive weekend at The Hoxton, Shoreditch

London in the Winter can be a right old sweat. Rushing in the rain to catch the next tube, ripping off layer after layer for fear of over-heating and then two stops later, putting layer after layer back on for fear of freezing to death outside.

But the minute I got to The Hoxton, Shoreditch, I instantly felt relaxed. The atmosphere is cool and chilled-out due to the bare concrete architecture and open-plan lobby complete with velvet Chesterfields, naked light bulbs and wire bookcases lined with novels.  The huge roaring fires are so inviting, it’s impossible not to drop all your bags, sink into an armchair and stay for the week. We settled down into a cosy red leather, diner-style booth and devoured a Mac and Cheese (much needed after a strenuous journey).

Our room was funky and modern with a beautiful 60s style desk complete with branded mugs and (my fave) a Roberts Radio! Ngl, we spent most of the first afternoon just chilling in the room (so lethargic after my Mac and Cheese, plus it probs didn’t help that I’d had my Christmas party the night before…). And anyway, why would you leave a room that has unlimited tea bags, pillows made from clouds and Chill fm’s soothing mix of Massive Attack and Sigur Ros (srsly tho, is this a real radio station?).

We’d decided to stay in The Hoxton, Shoreditch for two reasons:

  1. Because we were going to see a play in the evening called The Ferryman. (If you know me, you’ll know I LOVE theatre, and this was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen, hands down)
  2. Because one of my life’s hopes, dreams and ambitions has always been to go to Columbia Road Flower Market. Ohhh the hours I’ve pondered over tulips, freesias and tiny, delicate cyclamen! And as luck would have it, it was just round the corner! (lol jk this was in the plan)

Finally, my day had come.

And on that day, those 24 hours that I’d chosen, one tiny little day out of 365, it decided to bloody tip it down.

But I REFUSED to let that stop me. This was my big flower market day! (huge shout out to my boyfriend at this point who stumbled after me in the torrential rain taking blogger pics while simultaneously trying to prevent our precious new lens from getting wet lol – what a gem)

Beyond the forest of Christmas trees (not quite a forest, more cut down and popped through one of those netting machines like a french sausage) were festive displays of red berries, eucalyptus stalks, pussy willow and poinsettias all shining out in glorious, wet, Christmassy joy!

It. Was. Wonderful.

I couldn’t leave without buying a seasonal bunch myself, despite knowing it would only cause me more chaos come the rain rush, layers on, layers off, sweaty tube chaos debacle. If only there was another Hoxton Shoreditch to greet me with an open fire and Mac and Cheese when I got home!

 

Outfit details:

Zara mohair jumper £39.99 (similar)

Zara red round bag £39.99 (similar)

Mango red slingback shoes £59.99 

Hollister white turtle neck £4.99

Urban Outfitters jeans £50.00 

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Bills has always been one of my favourite places to go for a girls’ breakfast, or a lovely relaxed dinner in the evening, it’s one of those places that works for any occasion, at any time of day! 

I went to the new Bills restaurant which has just opened as part of the new West Quay development in Southampton. It was a Friday evening, so it was completely packed, despite having only opened a couple of weeks ago. 

I nearly wet myself with joy when I noticed they had a gin cocktail on the menu with a grapefruit wedge (my favourite tipple!) and my boyfriend was delighted with the iced glass they gave him for his beer. 

The menu is full of my favourite things: halloumi sticks, falafel burgers, and their sausages with a honey and mustard dip are to DIE for. I could’ve eaten a plate of those for dinner and been more than satisfied. 

Because of the woes of January, I opted for the seasonal menu and went for a Venison and Chestnut pudding with bubble and squeak mash. I love venison so I was very excited to try it, and it did not disappoint. There didn’t seem to be an abundance of chestnut, but the mash was gorgeous and I was devasted when I couldn’t eat it all (very generous portions!). 

Overall, we had a lovely evening with delicious food. Even though they were very busy, the waiting staff were incredibly attentive and always helpful. I’ll definitely be back for their breakfast to sample yet more of those sausages! 

Bills in West Quay is open now and you can book a table here: https://bills-website.co.uk/

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I never understand why at the beginning of a New Year, everyone frets over what they’re going to change about themselves in the following year. I’m all for being healthy, financially stable and productive, but sometimes this desperate desire to change oneself can have a detrimental effect on your happiness

(speaking from experience). January is depressing enough already! 

This year I’ve decided that instead of worrying about New Year’s resolutions, and the unrealistic promises I would normally make to myself about what I can achieve in a year’s time, I’m going to look back at what I did achieve, in the previous year. Hopefully, by remembering what I’ve already achieved, it will spur me on to do new things in 2017! 

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Me and my Grandpa 

1.  Moved into a new flat

I used to live in a house share with horrible people, and if I’m perfectly honest, I was really miserable there. I didn’t have many friends, I’d just started a new job, and I felt lost and lonely. I’d already moved twice that year (due to job relocation) but I decided I didn’t want to live my life being miserable in a house that was nothing like a home. So I took the plunge, and moved! And I’m so much better for it now. 

2. 

Survived 6 months without my best friend

I was heartbroken when I got a call from my best friend, Lauren, telling me she’d got the job in Sri Lanka and she was moving there for 6 months. It was at a point when we were spending so many weekends together in London, and what with having no friends (lol) I really relied on seeing her and doing things together at the weekends. But somehow I managed to cope – mainly due to the godsend that is Whatsapp audio, thank you technology.  

3. Travelled alone for the first time

Following on from number 2, I made it a goal that I would go and visit Lauren in Sri Lanka. I’d never been outside of Europe, and I’d never flown on my own. This was something I’ve always been anxious about: travelling across half the world stuffed in a flying tin can with a bunch of strangers? I hate people that enjoy flying. My. Worst. Nightmare. But I did it! And I was only sick once. Lol. 

4. Started helping out with a homeless charity

I’d been meaning to go along and help hand out food to the homeless for months and months, but I was always ‘too tired’ or ‘it was raining’ or I ‘couldn’t be bothered’. When I finally did go along, however, it gave me a whole new perspective on life. Not only did it get me out the house, but it made me more open-minded and forced me to not feel sorry for myself because the Co-op had run out of my favourite sourdough loaf (get a grip, Emma). 

5. Met my boyfriend

Having had a previous catastrophic relationship, it was only in January last year that I really felt content being on my own. When you’re so used to someone’s constant company, it’s so difficult to go cold turkey and suddenly find yourself completely alone. I consider it a huge achievement that I got to a stage where I was ready to let someone new in. And that wasn’t because he was a necessity, but because he was a positive addition. Also, as my boyfriend doesn’t live down the road (just the short distance of 149 miles away…) I consider it an achievement sustaining a long distance relationship and not having constant breakdowns because there’s yet another train strike (argh!). 

6.

Jumped out of a plane 

God. This was something I never thought I’d do. I’ve never been a thrill seeker. I cried when I went on the Baby Dragon roller coaster at Legoland. Honestly, I have never been more terrified in my life. I had to take Kalms tablets for weeks leading up to the event, but my gosh, when I landed, I was so bloody proud.   

7. Spent lots of time with my Grandpa

I’m overjoyed that at 24 years old I am still able to spend so much time with my wonderful Grandpa. Every time I visit him I learn so much from his hilarious stories, and I will always admire his incredible inner strength. In this day and age, where everyone’s so consumed with their work, it’s an achievement to set aside valuable time with the people you love most in the world. 

8. Did an art course

‘Why didn’t I do one sooner?!’ I yelled when I had my first session at a printing workshop I signed up to. I was so nervous going on my own, but determined to go nonetheless. It turned out to be my little Wednesday afternoon retreat and reminded me that it’s never too late to learn something new! 

9. Became more confident

This year has been pretty testing in numerous ways and has forced me to gain skills I never thought I’d have. I’ve had to negotiate, become more headstrong and really believe in myself and my ability. I’m still learning now, as it’s certainly not a skill set you acquire overnight. But it’s taught me how important it is to know how much you can achieve when you know how capable you are of it. 

10. Started blogging more! 

I’m so happy I started blogging more and didn’t give up because I thought no one would read it. I loved the year of creative writing I did as part of my degree and was sad when I thought there was no way of me carrying it on. How wrong I was! I’m super grateful to anyone who’s ever read, commented on or shared one of my posts. Here’s to more in 2017! 

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Yeah me too. In fact, I’m freezing. I keep my coat on most days at work and wear my dressing gown to bed. I buy nice wool jumpers, have hot baths and then snuggle under my duvet and watch TV by the fire.

There is a man sleeping in the car park downstairs, and he’s cold too. In fact, he’s freezing. But, unlike me, there’s not much he can do about it. That is, apart from asking strangers for spare change so he can get enough money to sleep in a hostel for the night.  

I help out once a week with a charity called ‘The New Help the Homeless’ in Southampton. It’s run entirely by volunteers and led by a lovely couple called Lynn and Pete who go out six days a week and hand out food, hot drinks, clothes and sleeping bags to the homeless. The homeless rely on this group but financially, it’s struggling to keep going, especially with the catastrophic rise in people sleeping rough.

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Elaine and Chelsea, two of the volunteers. 

These homeless people are on the street for all sorts of reasons. Some have been victims of domestic abuse, some have been orphaned, some are ex-army and some suffer with mental health problems. There are also some who have turned to alcohol and drugs, but in sub-zero temperatures, can you blame them?

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A homeless man who regularly comes with his dog to get a hot meal. He wanted to remain anonymous. 

But it’s not until you meet them that you realise they’re not just ‘the homeless’ – they’re people.

There’s Derek, who loves Chelsea buns because when he was a little boy, he thought they looked like clowns’ faces. There’s Tasha, who last week took 24 cheese scones because, she told us excitedly, that she’s pregnant! There’s David, who dreams of buying and doing up his own canal boat because he loves the peace and quiet of the river. And then there’s Danny who died last week because he had nowhere to go.

It’s madness that in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, there are still so many people living on the street: men, women and children.

So I urge you, this year for Christmas, spend £5 less on a party dress, buy one fewer bottle of mulled wine, or get the person that’s got everything a charity gift. You have no idea how much of a difference one of these could make:

1. Buy a charity gift from Centre Point https://centrepoint.org.uk/buy-a-gift/

2. Make up a Christmas shoebox and give it to a local shelter. This is one I’ve prepared for the charity I help with! (below) And if you’re local, you can get involved here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1407386152899451/permalink/1621608061477258/?pnref=story

3. Volunteer a few hours and help around the Christmas period. I’m helping out on Boxing Day with my local charity, but if you don’t have one, then Crisis at Christmas are always looking for extra help! So if you’re bored by the 27th, or maybe don’t celebrate Christmas, this is a great way to actively help, and see the difference you’re making. http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/volunteer-christmas.html

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I received a letter the other day that claimed that ‘nothing could be done about the vagrants living in the car park’. Because the man in the car park wasn’t doing anything illegal, the police, who had been called numerous times, were unable to move him on. It turned out that some of the residents of my block had been rude and verbally abusive to this man, despite him causing no harm by inhabiting a quiet, unoccupied corner of the car park.

When I got home one cold December evening, this was stuck to the door of the block.

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It broke my heart. I was so angry and upset that those of us fortunate enough to have shelter, food and family showed little compassion for those suffering at the worst time of year.

I went and spoke to Simon and his friend personally and told them that I didn’t mind them staying in the car park! And then, I probably shouldn’t have done this, but I wrote a very passive aggressive note back (lol). If you don’t say it, then who will?   

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If you don’t have time to make up a shoebox, or you’re unable to volunteer over the festive period, please, please find it in your heart to show a little compassion to those on the streets this Christmas. Even if that’s just stopping while Christmas shopping for 5 minutes and having a chat to someone. Remember they’re not just ‘the homeless’, they’re people too. 

This is an amazing short documentary that my friend Tom made explaining what the charity do.

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Just a bit of inspo for Christmas wrapping! I love pretty packages, but it can take forever to beautify a parcel and handmade labels always go in the bin… So I’ve come up with a genius plan! (it’s not that genius…) I bought these baubles in John Lewis to decorate my parcels, that way, every gift comes with a bauble that can be put on the tree! 

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Variety of small copper baubles – John Lewis £7.50

Wrapping paper – IKEA £1.50 

Pack of curling ribbon – John Lewis £2.00

Diamond art deco bauble – John Lewis £4.00 

Sparkly pear bauble – John Lewis £4.00

Big copper bauble – John Lewis £2.00

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Amsterdam is one of my fave places ever, because every time I’ve been, I’ve left wanting more. That sounds a bit odd, but there’s just SO much to do, you leave feeling like you’ve barely scraped the surface! Here are some of my fave things to do that hopefully don’t tick the classic ‘I’m-a-tourist-in-Amsterdam box’. 

1. Go on a (non-touristy) boat trip 

In a place that’s 50% canals, you’d be mad not to see the city by boat. There are hundreds of boat trips with tours in every language, but try and scout out a different, more unique trip. I managed to go on a beautiful wooden 1920s boat, driven by a lovely Dutch man called Arnout. Seeing the city via water is really beautiful way to experience the canals and all the pretty side streets and bridges. Plus it’s a great way of peering into all the cool houseboats if you’re nosy like me!

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2. Have a slice of Apple Pie

Apple pie is basically synonymous with the Netherlands. I had this gorgeous slice in Zuivere Koffie, a little cosy café on Utrechtsestraat (a beautiful street for shops and cafés), but you can literally get it everywhere. I refused to leave Amsterdam until I’d had a slice!

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3. Walk the streets of Amsterdam by night 

Amsterdam is beautiful by day, but my god, at night it’s magical. It’s a custom in Amsterdam to leave your curtains open (apparently if you have them closed, it shows that you’ve got something to hide!), so it’s a joy to walk along the canals at night and see all the lights of the canal houses twinkling away. The reflections are magnificent as well. 

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4. Go in a canal house (if you can!) 

I was lucky enough to stay in a canal house, so it was very easy for me to go in one, but there are a lot of cafés, restaurants and bars that are based in canal houses, just do a bit of research! The little canal house loft I stayed in was on Airbnb and it was beautiful, click here to see! 

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5. Go in (at least!) one independent shop

It wasn’t until I was in Amsterdam that I really appreciated how nice it is to go in a string of independent shops and not see the same old thing. Don’t get me wrong, the main chain shops are there too (although I completely avoided them) but it’s the independent shops you really need to experience. The window displays make you want to go in every bakery and every chocolate shop. Even a shop that sold buttons, and only buttons, took my eye (bloody love buttons). Make the most of it though, because it’s depressing when you get back to the UK. 

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Hutspot was my absolute favourite. It’s a café, come shop, come barbers – it has it all. Beautiful books, gifts, unique jewellery, clothing and there’s even an edgy black and white photobooth. There’s a few Hutspots dotted around so make sure you visit one!

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6. Go to (at least!) one museum 

It’s overwhelming how many museums there are in Amsterdam. Van Gogh, Anne Frank’s House, and the Rijksmuseum arguably being the most famous. It’s impossible to do all of them in a couple of days, but pick one and do it well. I focused on the Rijksmuseum, because apart from anything else, the building was meant to be extremely beautiful. Try and see at least one Van Gogh as well if you can, because Amsterdam has the largest collection of his paintings in the world! 

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7. Go to a Dutch supermarket 

I LOVE going out for dinner, but sometimes it’s just as fun to pick whatever food you fancy in a really nice delicatessen/supermarket, prepare it with a glass of red wine, and eat it in front of a cosy fire! It’s not cheap, but for a one-off meal, and the convenience of eating it in your little apartment, I’d say it’s pretty special. 

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Amsterdam is the best. If you’ve never been before, I highly advise you to book a flight right now. It’s a beautiful, unique city, filled with culture and food and canals, and I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed. 

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