What I learnt by sorting out my wardrobe

What do me and a New York socialite have in common?

As of today, we both have wardrobes sorted according to season. I was inspired by this post to get myself organised.

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If left to my own devices, my home would probably resemble something like this.

I am queen of the floordrobe. I drive Benn mad with my disorganisation and me ironing ANYTHING is pretty much unheard of. So I surprised myself with my desire to sort my clothes out according to season- I think it was a culmination of the post above and the fact that I have a spare drawer under the bed.

As I sorted things, I found clothes I hadn’t seen in month; the jumper I knitted myself, my favourite eBay bargain dress. I organised my scarves on a coathanger in a way that is TOTALLY worthy of Pinterest.

I also noticed some things:

  1. Most of my clothes are secondhand- bought from charity shops, eBay and cast-offs from friends.
  2. Of those that I bought myself, lots of them are very old. Many pre-date having D by a couple of years at least.
  3. The newest item of non-workout clothing is a pair of jeans that I bought in the ASOS sale and hated on first sight. I really like them now.
  4. I have fifteen long sleeved black t-shirts. FIFTEEN.
  5. I have dozens of scarves, but I will happily keep collecting them.
  6. I used to wear a lot of skirts (hence the t-shirts) but now I’m more into dresses with leggings.
  7. I tend to wear the same things regardless of season, but make them ‘season appropriate’ with knitwear and accessories.
  8. I have a lot of knitwear.
  9. Despite what I would have expected, due to my fondness for grey, most of my clothes are relatively colourful.
  10. I am much better at being ruthless than I used to be- one dress is on eBay and I have a bag for the charity shop ready to go.

I have yet to tackle my chest of drawers, but that is in my near future. I would like some new clothes, but whether I’ll get round to buying any is another thing. I would also like to have more handmade clothes (I have loads of accessories, but few actual garments.)

Tips:

  1. Have the eBay app on your phone ready to take photos and sell stuff straight away.
  2. Have loads of coathangers- more than you expect you’ll need, as they double up for hanging stuff like scarves, tights, belts and bras (I guess, if you were so inclined!)
  3. Have a good, sturdy bag to hand for charity shop donations.

It’s actually quite theraputic and, dare I say it, enjoyable!

Not another rant about writing

So yesterday, a well known brand emailed me, asking if I’d be interested in writing about earning an extra income; as we’ve signed D up for nursery in September (and they don’t come cheap, especially in Brighton and before he qualifies for free hours), I expressed an interest. After all- this was a very hyped, new company that I knew was making serious money. And surely, given the topic, they’d be up for paying?

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Nope. I was offered ‘exposure’.

Now, I’m not some entitled blogger who expects sponsored posts. I’m not in the big league and I have turned down stuff that isn’t relevant to my interests and those of the people who read what I write. But I have done paid work before, both on the blog and freelance copywriting. I think hard before accepting jobs- can I give it the time it needs? Can I meet the brief? If you pay me, I will work hard for that money. I’ll work fast, I’ll write well and I’ll stick to your brief. Heck, I even declare my earnings to the tax man, as I should. If you send me something to review, I’ll do that to the best of my ability too.

But if you email me, asking me to do something on how your employees work with you to earn extra money and then say you don’t have a budget, but just wanted to start a ‘fun conversation’- that’s chutzpah.

I politely declined (with a note that, like the employees they wanted me to write about, I also needed to earn an extra income.)

What I wear on my face when I leave the house

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A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted that I went makeup shopping- and then realised that, far from being adventurous, I’d bought the same things I always do. Since having D, I’ve found my makeup has to be to be quick, easy to apply and last all day. I don’t have much  time to get ready and I need stuff that I know will suit me. So, what do I wear?

Primer: L’Oreal Mattifying Primer (£5.99)– I picked this up in Boots, but I can’t find it anywhere online. Unlike a lot of people who use makeup, I quite like silicone-y products. I like that they smooth out and stop shininess. My foundation does seem to last longer and I’m definitely a fan.

Foundation: Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude (£5.99)– This is one of my newer finds; I love this. It’s super light and easy to blend. I like the little dropper applicator and kind of fingerpaint the stuff on my face and then blend like mad. Don’t do that at home, though. I’m a professional.

Concealer: Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer (£5.49)– There’s not a lot I can say about this that hasn’t been said before, but I can say that it’s a godsend for hiding dark under eye circles! Especially useful when D has had a tantrum at 3am because I won’t read Highway Rat.

Powder- Max Factor Creme Puff (£5.99)– I love the old fashioned smell of this (and so does D; I had to replace my last one after I discovered him licking the old one. As you do.) I use it over the foundation as a mattifier, but also on days when I don’t want to wear much makeup but I want to look a bit more put together, I just wear a light dusting.

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Image: Makeup Revolution

Eye palette- Makeup Revolution in What You Waiting For? (£6.00)– I have the Hard Day palette from Makeup Revolution, but I tend to use What You Waiting For? more. I generally wear the mattes more, but I like that this palette has a range of colours- it goes from summery golds to more autumnal plum. I’ve repurchased this palette twice and I think it’s a permanent member of my makeup bag.

Highlighter- Revlon Highlighting Palette (£8.99)– I first saw this when it won a Grazia beauty award. As I’m pale to the point of ridiculousness, I have it in the Rose Gold, rather than the Bronze Glow. I don’t wear it everyday, but it’s brilliant at making my skin look alive and polished. I sweep it across my cheeks and nose with a big old brush and it doesn’t look like I’m channelling Bette Davis in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

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Not what I’m going for.

Blusher- Bourjois Creme Blusher (£7.99) This is perfect; swipe and go.

Eyeliner- Makeup Revolution Awesome Eyeliner Felt and Kohl (£3.50)– I’ve already written about (and raved about) this eyeliner before and I stand by my love of it. I stock up on it whenever I make an order and nothing else has really come close to usurping it in my affections.

Mascara- Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (£7.99)– Regular readers will know of my fickleness when it comes to mascara. This is my current mascara squeeze and.. I like it. The brush is fine, the coverage is fine and all is well.

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Brows- L’Oreal Brow Artist (£5.49)– I have always wanted Audrey Hepburn’s eyebrows. I can’t have them, but I do have this awesome pencil. It’s a start- and less fiddly than an eyebrow palette.

Lipstick- L’Oreal Color Riche Julianne’s Nude (£6.99)– Another goddess is Julianne Moore and I bought this and its red counterpart when they came out. I love, love, love this lipstick. It’s long lasting, smells like Parma Violets and lasts well with minimal drying. It just helps me feel ‘together’ and finished.

With the exception of the primer/foundation, this is how it all combines on my actual face:mejuly2014.jog

Grown up colouring and the art of getting a bit Zen

I was recently sent a copy of the first issue of Art Therapy magazine to review. As I recently wrote about how close I was to burnout, I was willing to try anything- ANYTHING- to get my mind a bit quieter.

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Please, do forgive me for the use of carpet as background- this was a hasty photoshoot.

I started having a go at grown up colouring (which is obviously a ‘thing’ now) while watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (also a ‘thing’) and found both immensely enjoyable.

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Thing is, for the first time in a few years, I am on ZERO medications. This means I am dealing with the world uninsulated for the first time in a long time. I need distractions from stroppy toddlers, coursework marking and the post-exercise agonies my body is determined to inflict on me. Both colouring and Kimmy Schmidt are good, positive antidotes to stress.

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Colouring in makes the imperfect perfectionist in me happy- I like everything to be symmetrical and the patterns in the magazine encourage this. I may have got a D in GCSE Art (I didn’t even want to take it in the first place, to be honest but choices at my secondary school were somewhat limited….), but by Jove I think I’d get at least a C in colouring in! I also think I’m going to be OK with my stress, too.

Issue 2 of Art Therapy magazine is now available.

Today I did Zumba for the first time…

I am slightly dying and starting to feel aches develop in places where I didn’t actually realise there were muscles.

Fittingly, Sali Hughes has an article on the newly launched (and EXCELLENT) website The Pool discussing why we’re all in pursuit of enjoyable exercise and whether it ever actually is.

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So how did my zumba debut go?

Well, when the instructor introduces herself as “oh, I do probably the most aerobic zumba class in Brighton”, the natural reaction is to laugh nervously, yes? That’s what I did anyway. I was also reassured that I probably wouldn’t get the choreography in the first lesson. But I had paid my fiver and as a Yorkshire woman, I was not about to let that money go to waste.

“Get”? I spent quite a bit of the class fudging my moves and, when I couldn’t work out what the bloody hell was happening, I sort of jogged embarrassingly like a third rate pub footballer on the touchline hoping to get a shot at playing in a Sunday league game. Also, my trainers were too heavy, which made Benn think I was mad when I told him. I liked that I could do some of the lunge-y moves (thanks, Davina!) and some of the hand movements were reminiscent of the Bollywood workout video I did as a teenager and I was proud of myself for being able to do those whilst moving other bits, too. After forty minutes of trying to avoid looking at myself in the mirror- I’m a realist, not a sadist; I didn’t need to see how badly I was doing, no matter how awesome my Powerpuff Girls t-shirt was- the lesson was over and I could hobble the five minutes it took to get home.

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Two hours after I got back, fed, watered and showered to within an inch of my life,  how do I feel now? Well, the SOLES of my feet ache, my collarbone aches, I’m pathetically coughing in the manner of stereotypical Victorian street urchins as portrayed on The Simpsons and I’m pretty sure I’ll be walking like a cardboard cut-out tomorrow. However, I am wide awake, despite D throwing a tantrum at 3am because I wouldn’t read him a story and I feel justified in eating chocolate.

So yes, I’ll be sore tomorrow, but I’m going back next week. I have to. I already paid my fiver.

Beating tiredness one step at a time

I’m tired.

Like, really tired. It’s always stressful at work at this time of year, but I’ve never had a toddler in tow. At the moment, I’m counting down the minutes til Easter break. And that when I’m going to make some lifestyle tweaks to try and increase my energy.

Food

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I’m using birthday money to buy a food processor (how exciting! How GLAMOROUS!) and I’ve been religiously reading cookbooks, looking for interesting and healthy recipes, with an aim of increasing my veggie intake- and boosting my energy levels.

I bought the Wahaca cookbook recently and I’m looking forward to trying to cook some spicy, summery Mexican food. I already I have my eye on healthy hot chocolate and breakfast smoothies.

I borrowed Jack Monroe’s new book on a whim from the library and I love it- her style isn’t pretentious, the ingredients are sensible and the instructions are straightforward. I already made the spring veg risotto and it went down brilliantly with D especially (Benn would have liked meat, but that can be added another time.)

My friend Jeni bought me the Deliciously Ella cookbook and now all I want is the food processor, a spiraliser and my courgette seeds to grow so I can make courgetti with pesto! It’s not normally the sort of cookbook I’d think I’d like, but there are some really good ideas in here.

Running

1607067_10152692223017267_7743578639046493132_nLook at my new running shoes! Aren’t they pretty? But also: STURDY. And you can see them from space, which is super important. I’ve been neglecting my running so I’m taking it pretty slowly at the moment, mainly because I can’t go much faster (despite the woman laughing and pointing at me yesterday. Which was classy of her.) However, physical activity is going to help me sleep better and, ergo, be less tired.

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In theory, anyway.

Now I am 31

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Clockwise from top left: Myrtle Snow figure from my sister; Angelina cake from Julien Plumart; my Erstwilder fox brooch; an interestingly eyed salt shaker I spotted at the museum tearoom

Yesterday I turned 31. I had a lovely day (and also developed a raging urge to collect Erstwilder brooches.) My parents were down for a visit and so I was free to go for lunch and do a bit of shopping while they tired out D. I asked Benn for running shoes, which now PROVES I am a grownup. I mean, at least I didn’t ask for a food processor- although I’m on the verge.

I’ve never really been bothered about my age and I think that will continue. I wouldn’t be 17 again if you paid me! I see a new birthday as a new year, a bit like January 1st or the start of a new school year. It’s a good time to take stock, to think about what I want out of the coming year. Deep.

Anyway, so: now I am 31 and it feels like a good age. I’m still super busy at work, but I’m coping. I’ve been off medication for over a month. It’s a good place to start.

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