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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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Exercise and Mental Health

I’m not a big exercise person. I don’t LOVE the gym, I don’t get a rush from doing a HIIT workout and the last thing I want to do is sign up to a bloomin’ marathon.

Having said that, I’d rather be doing a Pilates class, or spend 10 mins in a steam room than sitting at home in a mess of misery and Kit Kat wrappers, watching reruns of The Apprentice.

We all have the odd down day, some of us more than others, and it’s so easy to slump into that all-familiar downward spiral of doom and gloom. When you’re knackered and can’t be bothered with life, the last thing you want to do is put lycra leggings on and go to a circuits class. BELIEVE ME, I know.

But sometimes I ask myself, what is sitting around feeling miserable going to achieve? Is it going to make me happier? No. Is it going to make me feel better about my life? No.

So I FORCE myself (with a bit of added motivation from my mum and boyfriend) to get off my bum, throw on an old t-shirt and do some exercise! Whether it’s a 10 minute walk round the block to get some fresh air, or a proper sesh in the gym (I use the term ‘sesh’ lightly…), I will now nearly always try and do at least 10 mins of exercise when I’m feeling rubbish.

So why exercise? Why not shopping or reading or eating?

One word: ENDORPHINS. I bloody love endorphins, I don’t really know what they are but I know they exist and I know that they’re GOOD. Maybe it’s psychological, maybe it’s not, but I know that I feel better when I’ve got out the house and moved around a bit.

It’s such an easy and simple thing to do, plus you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something that day – something more than reminding yourself of who was ‘fired’ in Series 9, episode 6 (it was Rebecca, in case you were wondering).

In the words of Elle Woods (lol I am always quoting Legally Blonde):

 

‘Exercise gives you endorphins.

Endorphins make you happy.

Happy people just don’t kill their husbands, they just don’t. ’

 

Damn right they don’t, Elle.

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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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Winter layering

This one time in the office a colleague came up to me and said ‘do you know what I like about you, Emma? You’re all about comfort over style.’

Er, RUDE.

But also, 100% true.

Major respect for gals out there wandering round in knee-high boots in sub-zero temperatures, but personally I can’t be bothered. I’m all about cosy knits, long trousers, and polo necks. Anyone else have the never ending nightmare of wearing a wool coat because it’s -5 outside, but as soon as you get on a bus/enter a shopping centre/have a coffee, you get terrible Winter sweats?! I’m telling you, layering is the way forward.

This rust orange jumper from Native Youth is super snug and perfect for shoving over a black turtle neck.

I fell in love with these Topshop heritage trousers, they fit really well so they’re brill for you gals out there with short legs and a big bum (like me). I love how the orange jumper picks up the colour in the trousers – just team them with some classic Topshop loafers and your outfit is absolutely sorted.

 

Outfit details:

Native Youth rust coloured jumper – £60.00

Topshop Heritage trousers – £39

Topshop black loafers (similar) – £45

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Fig. 1

I actually have a friend who moved cities purely because
there wasn’t a Wahaca where she lived. That’s how good it is. Wahaca is all
about Mexican street food, small bites with lots of dips and the odd hint of
spice. Everything is smothered in melted cheese, guacamole and salsa, I mean –
what’s not to like?

Now I have to be honest, I was slightly distracted by the
lovely French waiter I had at the new branch of Wahaca in West Quay,
Southampton, that when it came to ordering I got all in a fluster and
accidentally ordered guacamole and nachos as a light starter. I’m going to say
something controversial now: I don’t actually like avocados (which for all of
you non-foodies out there, is the main ingredient of guacamole). I’m sorry, I
just don’t. However, this guacamole was the best thing that has ever had the
good fortune to be put in my mouth. My god, it was amazing. So amazing in fact,
that my cousin Cameron and I (who also hates avocados, btw) had demolished the
whole lot in seconds. (See fig. 1)

My other fave thing about Wahaca is the black bean and
cheese quesadillas. Such a simple combination, but oh such a good one – they melt
in your mouth!

I had a mezcal cocktail to wash it all down. Now to be
honest I didn’t know what ‘mezcal’ was, but the addition of cucumber,
grapefruit and berries on the menu led me to believe it would be like a gin. It’s
not like a gin. It’s much smokier, and much more like a tequila, but refreshing
all the same.

I couldn’t leave Wahaca without trying their churros. Fluffy
doughnuts piped into a bow shape, deep fried and dipped in a rich chocolate
sauce, they are undoubtedly one of the best sweet street foods on the planet. The
waiter offered me the option of trying a caramel sauce as opposed to a
chocolate one and to be honest, I was reluctant. How could the combination of
chocolate and churros be bettered?! But it could. What a way to finish the meal
– they were absolutely heavenly.

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Wahaca is now open at West Quay in Southampton. You can book
your table here! 

*This meal was received as complimentary for the purpose of review

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A Mexican Feast

I actually have a friend who moved cities purely because there wasn’t a Wahaca where she lived. That’s how good it is. Wahaca is all about Mexican street food, small bites with lots of dips and the odd hint of spice. Everything is smothered in melted cheese, guacamole and salsa, I mean – what’s not to like?

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Forget hygge, 2017 is all about lagom. (yay, another Scandinavian
word we don’t know how to pronounce!) Roughly translating as ‘not too much, not
too little, just right’, lagom is the art of living frugally, a pretty
essential life skill if, like me, you’ve still got a £9000 student loan to
repay. Lagom is a way of life that encourages you to be environmentally
friendly, financially economical and healthy. It’s certainly not as fun as
hygge, which, by the way, I readily embraced by purchasing new snuggly socks and an
endless supply of mulled wine. But apparently January is all about new starts
blah blah and I have a whacking great tax bill to pay, so I for one, am becoming lagom.

It’s quite difficult to think of stuff to do that doesn’t involve a lot of money, so here are some ideas of how to live lagomly, and yes, I have made that word up:

1. Made my own pizzas

I have a terrible habit of going out for dinner ALL the
time. I make great plans to boil down lentils, spinach and kale into some sort of healthy mush and yet, before you know it, I’ve got a dim sum in
each cheek and Katsu curry dripping down my chin. But I’ve realised that
although eating out is super convenient, it’s also bloody expensive, and half
the time what you have out isn’t as nice as what you could cook at home! So the
other evening I made my own pizzas – dough and all.

2. Went for a walk

I absolutely love going for a walk when it’s cold, crisp and
sunny to then return home and snuggle up with a hot chocolate. I went for a
winter walk on the beach the other day and it made me question why I don’t do
it more often. I love the UK. I think it’s beautiful, so get out there and make
the most of it without spending a penny!

3. Used my gym membership (lol)

Sometimes I forget that I pay £30 a month to be a member of
a gym. But then suddenly last week I remembered (miraculous) so I decided to
go. And I had a great time! Although furious that the hot tub wasn’t working, I
did 10 lengths in the pool (watch out Michael Phelps) and then sat in the sauna
for half an hour. It was glorious. Plus then I showered in water I’m not billed
for! Could life get any better?

4. Started a journal

At some point I’ll do a blog about my bullet journal, but
honestly it is my favourite new thing. Yes you need to buy a notebook and a
fancy array of coloured pens, but then you’ve got a year of journal-writing
fun! And there’s nothing funner than planning!

5. Rearranged my bedroom

I have a beautiful Roberts Radio that I never listen to,
which, considering what I do for a living, is really embarrassing. For some reason
I’d put it in a stupid place where the antennae didn’t get any signal, so, when
I realised how ridiculous it was, I decided to rearrange my room. And that kind
of turned into a big old sort out. It’s also nice to make your bedroom a little project: making bunting, picking up ring stands and vintage mirrors in charity shops, and framing photos that you’ve had lying around for a while! 

In general, hygge is definitely more fun than lagom, but lagom is about long-term fun: saving up those pennies for a house, getting a fit and healthy mind and body, appreciating the smaller things in life without having huge extravagances. So although we all have little splurges occasionally, it’s good to have lagom at the back of your mind. 

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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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