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PLAYING PARISIAN - THE ART OF REINVENTION

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Westminster, London, UK




"Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends." - Kate Spade

It's funny how when we are young, we follow this quote so faithfully, almost as if it were a life maxim, every single day. I remember when I was aged five, six, seven, and even eight and nine. I'd change who and what I wanted to be almost daily. Each day I'd change the path my life was set on; one day I wanted to be a ballerina (this was a dream revisited frequently but ultimately crushed when I was fourteen and had the harsh realisation that frankly, I was shite at ballet.) Other days I was going to be the lead in an internationally renowned girlband. I wanted to be a primary school teacher. A street dancer. A tap dancer. A contemporary dancer. The next Beyoncé (so essentially good at everything and probs the most unrealistic.) A fashion designer. A fashion journalist. The next Kate Middleton (I'm available, Harry!) A model (loooooool). A doctor. A businesswoman. An author. A lawyer. The last one, at the minute, is the plan I'm currently sticking to. (but who knows if it might change once again?)

But it's funny isn't it? When you're young, no doors are closed to you. No dream is deemed too great, too unattainable. There's something incredibly precious about the naivety of the young, for whom no rules apply and you truly can be anything you want to be.




But of course, we grow up, and we realise that life is not so simple. This post is not particularly aimed at passing judgement on this aspect of life. In reality, it would be difficult to live with the complete freedom and flakiness we have when we were young, to flit from one career path to another, to drift. Indeed, to progress in a field we all know the drill; it takes determination to stick it out, whether that's through working your way up or studying hard, or both. There needs to be a non-fickleness, one is expected to be in it for the long haul to succeed in a career.

But that doesn't mean that every area of our lives has to be so controlled, so static.

I guess personally I've harboured that sense of spontaneity and adventure of my younger self through my love of fashion.


With fashion, there really are no rules. (Well, apart from the unspoken ones - no socks with sandals, I'm looking at you, but let's brush past that, shall we?)

One aspect I've always greatly appreciated of fashion is the opportunity to reinvent. To pretend. To play dress-up. To act. To dream.

Though I feel I now have some sense of 'personal style' and general outfit combinations that I tend to stick to, I'm still very much partial to really changing it up every once in a while, and wearing something completely over the top, or completely out of my comfort zone. See it as my own little personal text, to challenge myself, if you will. 

I remember writing something similar in a piece back last Spring (link here)

"Sometimes I love to dress like a prim and proper 1950s housewife, and other days I like to pretend that I'm a Rolling Stones groupie! To me, that's what is so great about fashion. There are no real rules when it comes to personal style, and no real commitment; so if one day you want to dress like you've stepped straight out of a period drama, you can; and if the next you're not feeling that look anymore, and would rather dress like a mod or rocker from the 60s, then you can do that!"

And alas, not much has changed.



Which brings me to this outfit, in which I felt like playing Parisian. One thing you should definitely know about me is that I, along with half of the world I'm sure, am absolutely in love with Paris. There's something enchanting about the idea of getting lost in the little cobbled streets, drinking hot chocolate and eating french fancies in quaint little cafes on rainy wishy washy afternoons. Or living in a cute little apartment with a balcony looking out onto picturesque views.

My very standard life in boring old suburbia could hardly compare, and in truth, living in Paris for a year is on my Bucket list of things to do.

But until that day, that doesn't mean that I can't pretend, just for a little, that I'm part of that Parisian dream, and I can do so simply through the outfits I create.




This outfit contains components that are quintessentially 'Eva' pieces; a nice cosy knit, a classic trench and ankle boots, but just a few little extra details of the beret, the red lip and the fishnet tights - and suddenly I feel as though I'm just meant perusing the boutiques on the Champs-Élysées or riding a bicycle past the Louvre, baguette in basket.
This also proves that the old theory that just a few extra details really can push your outfit that extra mile to make it more interesting.

I guess it's rather tricky to be more 'out there' with your fashion choices for fear of looking over the top, or 'extra'. I was definitely a victim of this way of thinking. But I don't know, a recent bout of 'I don't give a fuck anymore, life's too damn short' has somewhat pushed me towards, on occasion, being a little more daring with my clothes. If you love something wear it!

If a look like this seems a little too much, then there are plenty of ways you might dial it down. Just choose one piece, the beret for instance, and simply let your imagination do the rest. Let me set the scene: you put that beret on, a patter of red lipstick and a squirt of chanel No. 5, and no longer are you walking the streets of some rainy England town. You are now a fierce, independent, sophisticated french woman who rents a tiny studio apartment with a view of the eiffel tower. You live off coffee and smoke like a chimney (something I do not advocate, btw, but when it's fantasy, why not?). You rock that red lip everyday, walking into the office with a copy of vogue in your arm and leaving a cloud of Chanel no.5 in your wake, and turning all the heads of the handsome young frenchmen as you strut about in your perfect Dior pumps.


So, I shall leave you with the words of Ralph Lauren:

"The world is open to us and each day is an occasion to reinvent ourselves."

The day is yours and the world is there for the taking, a whole realm of opportunity.
I may let my imagination run wild once more, but ah, isn't it fun to play pretend?

Do you see fashion as a vehicle for reinvention? Does an outfit you put of ever change your perception of yourself for that day? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx


OUTFIT DETAILS:

Jumper: Stradivarius (Sold Out - have linked it just in case it comes back!)
Skirt: Mango (Sold Out - similar here)
Tights: Asos
Trench: Next
Boots: Saint Laurent (sold out - similar here)
Beret: Asos
Bag: Zara (Sold Out - similarish here)
Twilly: Dior

FRIDAY THOUGHTS... A NOTE ON THE GENERAL ELECTION.

Friday, 9 June 2017







Hello, lovelies!

So I thought I'd start a new weekly series where alongside some pics of my favourite outfit of the week, I'd share with you some thoughts on whats gone on in the week, if I've been up to anything of note (a rare occurrence, I must admit!) and so on. How would you feel about that? I just thought it would be nice to begin to expand this space beyond the realms of solely fashion and beauty, so you might get an insight into more of my interests and opinions. So, I hope you enjoy!

So this week I think chatting about the General Election is unavoidable. Now, firstly I think I need to talk about the way the election has been talked about across social media and by 'influencers'. I know this is perhaps rather controversial territory; social media 'influencers' and bloggers hesitate to share their political views and speak beyond their safe blog topics, but in all honesty, I've found this to be quite a shame! With this election being such a important one with so much at stake, I personally find it rather disappointing that I haven't heard more people speaking out on these issues. I have huge respect for the handful of influencers who have really used their platforms to voice their opinions (to Gracie Francesca, Charlotte Martin, Bethany Elstone, Chloe Plumstead and Callie Thorpe to name a few!)

Maybe it's not so much big 'influencers' not voicing their own personal opinions at all, but more the fact that I've seen a lot of these 'influencers' discouraging chat about these topics. For example, I've seen far too many people writing things like 'there's no need to get into an argument about the election', 'suddenly everyone is a politician', 'whatever happens life goes on' or 'whats done is done time to stop talking about it' and even accusing those who are using their platform to encourage people to vote for a certain party in an educated fashion as 'pressurising' people into voting a certain way. as very disappointing. I find this sort of rhetoric very disappointing and diminishing the importance of real life issues.

Furthermore I found it disappointing that 'influencers' with such big followings did not even encourage people to go out and vote, fair enough if you don't feel like sharing your own personal view, but it was a shame to see people acting as if the whole thing wasn't happening. Surely if you're a 'social influencer' you should be interested in social issues? Seeing numbers of outfit or product ads just seemed vacuous at this time to me personally.
The reason so many people get worked up over it is because this issues have very real effects on their lives. As much as I love to read blogs and very frivolous, materialistic things, it does occur to me when something big happens in the real world just how almost shallow it really is. One thing I will say is I am sick of 'influencers' bandying around the 'bullying' card to deter heated, but good natured debate, when really we should be celebrating the fact that people, and especially young people, are getting so involved with politics. We cannot pretend that this election in particular was not one that would have significant ramifications, and I'm sure for a lot of people, the decision of who to vote for was not seen as a morally-neutral one. When things like elections and who gets voted in has a real effect on some people's lives, I find it incredibly disappointing and to an extent privileged, to tell people to not get worked up about it.
I think for me it's more to also the fact that I used to see blogging as an inherently personal thing, and I think this purpose has somewhat dwindled as blogging become a very monetised industry. The reason blogging became so popular was because it offered a much more personable and personalised window into certain fields i.e. fashion and beauty, that large companies and adverts simply couldn't achieve. Yet now, I look at the list of people I follow, and far too often all I see is ad after ad after ad, with no window into that person at all. Now of course, people can share as much or as little as they like about themselves personally, and I completely respect this, but I personally like to follow a person not only for their sense of style or advice or whatever, but because I enjoy getting to know that person, naturally this would extend to their opinions on 'hot topics' also. At the very least, I like to see an acknowledgement of what is happening in the real world, as opposed to just this very materialistic, narrow world often presented by 'influencers' on social media.
Personally, I'm actually massively interested in politics and that probably explains why I have these opinions on it. I spent hours and hours in the run up to this election researching, educating myself more and trying in vain to predict what might happen today.

And waking up this morning, who would have predicted this! Well, I say wake up, I haven't actually slept yet - I always enjoy staying up and watching the votes come through on the news! But, all I can say is, astonishing. Anyone else really feel like we're watching history in the making at the minute? The past 2 years or so has really marked a shift in history and we continue to watch the shaping of the very strange changing face of british politics and the tumultuous future of our country. 

Personally, I'm incredibly happy with the result. I, like a lot of other young people, voted Labour, and dreamed, though I confess, without much expectation, of a Corbyn win. Why, you may ask? Well simply, over the past few years we have seen poverty rise to unacceptable levels. The increases in homelessness and people using food banks, for example, quite frankly appalls me. In my view, people simply cannot take any more austerity. We are seeing public services, our NHS, namely, nearing crisis. We have seen police numbers cut these past seven years under the Tories (and May as Home Secretary). I think, finally we have to acknowledge that hope and promise of a more equal society that Corbyn has stood for, has really resonated with people nationwide. 

Well, we may not have got a Labour win, but we got the next best thing. Clearly, the disastrous Tory campaign has left us with a weakened tory government, a humiliated Theresa May, and hopefully no mandate for a hard Brexit. Seeing such strong right-wing 'sure thing' tory seats like Kensington and Canterbury becoming Labour gains goes to show that we really are in a divided, and continuously surprising position. From going from being the leader ridiculed in our right-wing press, mocked and continuously hailed unelectable, to providing the best Labour win in years (and the highest increase of the vote since Clement Attlee in 1945), Corbyn really has done his supporters proud. In this sense, we have achieved success. 

One thing I am utterly joyous about is the newfound engagement of young people in politics. Say what you may about Corbyn, but this is entirely his doing. Clearly, he has managed to galvanise young people into action, inspiring with his different manifesto. With the 18-25 year old turn out raising from 43% in 2015 to 72% now, who can deny that the Corbyn effect has well and truly played its part.

It looks like we're in very uncertain territory now, but I for one am incredibly excited to see how we proceed. Will Theresa 'no mandate' May resign? Will she really form an odious alliance with the DUP? Will there be a second election in the autumn? Who knows, but what I can say is that today seems just that slightest bit brighter than yesterday. 

----

Reluctantly (I could talk about politics for hours!) I shall move away from the election onto more light hearted matters. 

So, can we please chat about 'The Walking Dead'?! This show has ruined my life. I watched 7 seasons in 10 days and I am not even remotely sorry. I cannot believe I was so late to the party! For those of you who don't watch it, it's basically about a post-apocalyptic dystopian world in which the planet has been overrun by zombies (the result of a deadly plague), and the struggle the survivors face. I never thought I would have been so enamoured by a zombie-apocalypse centred show, - but it really is incredible! The acting is terrific, the storylines remain action filled and surprising, though I must worn you of the abundance of gore! I would definitely recommend you watch, so that we can discuss it in the comments, because I am bursting to talk to someone about it! Oh, and incidentally, Andrew Lincoln, who plays the lead Rick Grimes, is ridiculously swoon worthy, regardless of the fact that he swans about in cowboy boots and pistol and axe in hand (would you judge me if I said that probably added to the appeal?), just incase you needed any more motivation! (Oh, and if you already watch, can we chat about RICHONNE!!??!!! The otp to end all otps, surely? I am official richonne trash and I'm not sorry!)

Also, another highlight of my week (and I am completely aware of how sad this is about to sound) has been the return of Love Island to our TV screens! I cannot tell you how much I love this show. If you are into incredibly trashy reality TV, then this is the show for you, no explanation will sell it to you so I urge you to just go watch it. For those of you who are watching already, who are you liking and not liking? I'm not really feeling any of the boys, but I love Montana - I think she's hilarious (and so pretty!)

So, that ends my thoughts on this week, today folks! I think going forward there'll be more to report, but I knew this one would be quite politically focussed so I didn't want to add too much waffle about other stuff! 

I suppose my main question for you this week is, what is your take on the election this week? Are you happy with the results? What are your predictions for the following weeks and months? And also, do you think I'm being unfair on these 'social media influencers'? I'd love to hear your thoughts on all I've talked about this week! 

Until next time,
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Tee: Zara (v old!)
Jeans: Topshop (Sale, similar here)
Trench: H&M (v. old again!)
Shoes: Ego
Beret: Asos
Necklace: Nakd Fashion
Bag: Zara
Twilly: Dior




CHECKMATE

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Chelsea, London, UK



So, I've been rather M.I.A these past few weeks, right? I apologise for my absence - I have to put this one down to the old mental health woes (bleugh bleugh bleugh), so I really didn't feel like producing content (and the well of self-critique it so often entails) and actually found myself taking an impromptu break from social media for a few weeks. I can't say I achieved anything productive in my time away, either, unless we count binge-watching a shit load of netflix as an achievement. Let's just say I may have watched all the episodes of '13 Reasons Why' as well as all 7 seasons of 'The Walking Dead' in 10 days with absolutely zero regrets. I must say, 'The Walking Dead' was incredible but has also completely ruined my life as I am official TWD fan trash and I am failing to find any other purpose to my life now I've finished it! (side note: if any of you have watched either of these shows please let me know in the comments because I am DYING to discuss them!)

But I digress, back to business! Let's talk one of this seasons hottest trends: gingham.



Now, when you think gingham, a few words probably spring to mind. Perhaps you're thinking 'preppy', university students in checked shirts and v neck jumpers. Or maybe you're envisaging a more country vibe, a rustic, cowboy-esque, worker vibe. Or the domestic? A traditional housewife in her cute gingham apron with her cute gingham tablecloth. At worst you're thinking of a dusty old picnic blanket.  But with so many different gingham options out on the high street at the minute there's no reason that a little gingham attire should have you channelling a boring middle class boat shoe-ed geography student, or make you look like you've wrapped yourself in your grandma's table cloth.


Now personally, when I think gingham, I think of youth. Am I right in thinking that all you Brits out there most probably associate this print with primary school too?! Ahh, happier days, when we'd prance freely around the school playground in these cute little blue and white checked gingham summer dresses, how great it was to be young!

I've always been a fan of prints of the checkered family, I'm a big fan of gingham's siblings plaid and tartan, so naturally I was rather pleased that the fashion world is going gaga for gingham right now!



So enough waffling, let's get onto the outfit. Now, this whole look is made up of rather adventurous pieces for me.

Now the first thing to address; shock horror, I'm not wearing jeans! Getting the old pins out is most definitely a rare occasion for me, not because I'm particularly tom-boy inclined (indeed, I absolutely love the feminity that skirts and dresses give) but simply because I'm one lazy fucker for whom skirts mean leg shaving and leg shaving equals effort. (Please tell me you girls relate??) Add to the fact that this skirt is patterned and holy shit I hardly recognise myself either! When I first saw this skirt on Asos I was the literal personification of the heart eye emoji. The asymmetric detail and layered fabric makes it the perfect twist on a classic, whilst remaining super wearable and 'on trend'. I knew I'd have to pair it with more 'me' pieces to keep it wearable, so I paired it with a black leather jacket, and a basic tee.

If you're someone who is rather allergic to prints, then I'd say gingham is a good way to dip your toes into the pool of pattern. Opt for gingham in black and white to remain well within the bounds of your monochromatic comfort zone.

Let's also chat about another of the focal features, the hat. Am I the only one who thinks people who can rock hats look ridiculously cool? I, sadly, am not one of those people. Not only do I often find it hard to find hats that will fit my ridiculously huge bowling ball of a head and lion's mane, but I just tend to feel that hats on me look odd.
So you'll understand my skepticism when the 'baker boy' hat trend first hit the scene, but, being the complete social media sheep with absolutely no will power that I am, of course I got sucked into the trend and still found my pathetic self trawling asos and adding one to my basket.
The verdict? Well, the jury is still out on this one, folks! Sometimes I think it looks alright, and other times I think I look ridiculous! What do you guys think? Honest opinions! 


Then we have the white boots! I absolutely LOVE these and this trend! White footwear will be another big hit this summer season, and I knew that boots were the way to go. This pair are from Topshop that I got in the mid-season sale a few weeks ago; I gave myself a rather hearty pat on the back when I managed to nab them for half price!



I already have my eye on another 1935792852 gingham pieces, a gingham sundress being on the top of my list! Gingham remains a timeless classic, so why not have a little fun with it this summer? I definitely plan on being gingham-clad all season long!

What do you think of this outfit? Are you all loving the gingham trend too? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Tee: Balmain x H&M (Sold out - Similar Here)
Skirt: Asos
Jacket: Bershka
Boots: Topshop (Sold out, but I love these options! Here and Here)
Bag: Zara (similarish Here)
Twilly: Dior
Hat: Asos
Necklaces: H&M, Na-kd Fashion


Shop some of my fave gingham pieces below!



WHY THERE IS NO SHAME IN NEEDING TO TAKE TIME OUT

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

London, UK



"The truth is we all need a time out, time out to re-evaluate, find balance, heal, detox, and time to breathe!"

Now, as I sit down to write this post titled, 'why there is no shame in needing time out', I'm aware that there is going to be a huge degree of hypocrisy to this piece. Because I didn't follow the very advise I'm about to give you. I couldn't accept that I needed time out to focus on me. And then I didn't have a choice. Indeed, it was my body that showed that it needed time out, and the decision wasn't mine anymore.

I've been hesitant to write this post for a little while, because it's going to get real personal up in here, and I'm really not one to do that. I'd always figured that my blog would be focused solely on fashion and beauty related content, the frivolous, superficial stuff, but now I've realised that I both enjoy and feel compelled to write more heartfelt, thoughtful stuff -  It's funny how the content evolves, as your needs change.

So sit back with a cuppa and a biscuit for a rather emotional, personal post that I felt needed writing and proved rather therapeutic in the end.


So I guess we should start with a little bit of background. I've suffered with depression for over three years now, but was only officially diagnosed with clinical depression in May 2016. I can't say I was completely blindsided by this. There's a faint history of depression in my family and looking back, I can see that I've probably suffered from mild bouts of it throughout my teen years, but I could never have anticipated just how big an impact it was to have on my life, that it wouldn't just stay a nuisance that I learnt to live with, as in January 2017, I found it so debilitating that it forced me to leave university.

Now, this isn't really supposed to be a post about my battles with depression, I'm still debating whether that post is something I'm going to write about in the future, but more about the many emotions and struggles that I had surrounding the prospect of needing to take time away.

See, I knew around May last year that I wasn't really coping. I put it down to uni stress, but deep down I knew this wasn't the case. I've never really been one to let academic work stress me out to such an extent, and anyway, these issues were persistent even when I was at home in the holidays. Well, not issues, but symptoms, I guess: the constant tiredness, the low mood, the teariness, the over-thinking, the erratic sleeping and routines, the smallest aspects of life just felt unbelievably difficult, and my persistent symptoms made me feel as though this state would be never ending.

I knew then that I needed a break. A chance to regroup. To give myself a real shot at getting better, and prioritising my health. But not only that, my struggles with my health meant that I had neglected all other aspects of my life. Me, who was usually so organised and driven, always with a plan, was suddenly without a single goal. I was severely behind on uni work when I'd always been one to enjoy studying. Everyone around me was organising internships and further study or gap years, but whenever I was asked what my plans after uni were, I could only meet the question with the answer of "I'm not sure yet, I'm just trying to get through finals, haha!" Haha. Hahahahaha. A whole lot of nervous laughter. Because that question always reinforced the fact that I had no plan. I just couldn't see a future. It was so difficult to just get through a single day, let alone think about a future. And I won't lie to you, quite frankly, it shit me up. It was like, all of a sudden, I had all these goals, then nothing. I wanted a break to figure this out, to not only tackle my mental health but make up for all the time I'd lost because of it to figure out what I wanted to do, to "find myself" (I'm sorry, I know it sounds cringe, but it's true). But I didn't want to be left behind. I had uni to do, a degree to complete. I had MA applications to fill in, internships to apply for.



And then January 2017 hit with a particularly bad depressive episode. I got back to uni and was completely overwhelmed with what I had to do. The fact it was my last proper term of work before exam season. The fact that a depressive episode at the start of my first 3rd year term had meant I was critically behind on work and had that to catch up on on top of all of the new terms work. The fact that over christmas my dear Grandad had become gravely ill. The fact that I just felt exhausted and knew I was starting to downward spiral. It all came to a head when at the start of term, I left my room at uni only once in 2 weeks, completely ignored all my emails and essay commitments and literally just lay in bed for all those days, hardly even watching tv, constantly crying. I couldn't concentrate on anything, small daily tasks such as showering or making a bowl of cereal seemed so incredibly difficult, everything seemed difficult. This hadn't been my worst bout of depression, but I knew that I couldn't possibly predict when it was going to end, and could get to a position where I was at least able to concentrate on tasks. Every day I was getting further behind with my degree, and sinking further into this hole of shit. I wasn't functioning and I needed time out. And so that's what happened.

As I sit here writing this, I am now into my fifth week of intermission. Intermission is the official, fancy term for when a student at my university takes a break from study, usually on medical grounds. I didn't have to drop out and leave uni completely, I go back in October to do my final year and so in that sense I'm lucky that this really is just a few months out, a blip, almost, before I go back to pick up where I left off.



But I felt so pissed off for ages about the way things have turned out, and there I times I still do. So frustrated. So ashamed. A big part of this was the fear of what others would think. How was I going to explain to my friends that I needed to take time out? Do I divulge the whole story, and explain that it was health? I didn't want to say I just needed time out because it sounded like I couldn't do uni, but revealing you suffer from mental health problems is also rather daunting. It was the potential little conversations that would play on my mind. Like, how do I explain why I'm not at uni when I see people I know down the shops? When my old next door neighbour asks me "what I'm doing home" in the biscuit isle in Tesco. It all sounds stupid when I read this back, but I know these were and still are worries that I have. That people will somehow think less of me because... well, I don't know why.

But it was more than that, it was the pressure I'd put on myself. I was ashamed that I, someone who always had it so together, couldn't do it. I couldn't complete uni alongside everyone else, I feel as though I've been left behind. One thing I've realised is just how much I'd shaped my identity around my academic ability and achievements. For so long this was the only thing I've seen as 'good' about myself - I guess I was always one of the geeks. I've always had low self-esteem concerning my appearance, I was never one of the popular kids at school and, being plagued by social anxiety I find I consistently worry that I'm just one of those bland people that everyone forgets or finds odd or boring. So I struggled with the fact that it was me that was the weak one who 'needed a break to recover from mental health'. I just saw this as code for 'she's struggling and she couldn't do it, she wasn't good enough to do it, she wasn't smart enough'. These feelings were made more acute by the fact that, without wanting to sound braggy, I go to a very academic, prestigious uni and have always had a touch of imposter syndrome; that it was a mistake that I had gotten in in the first place, that I didn't deserve my place. For this reason, I've always felt that I had to prove myself, prove that I was good enough. And to a large extent, I did. When I got to uni, I realised I was on par, I was smart enough. My grades were as good as everyone else's, I excelled in my first year exams, and then suddenly, all this, and I'm back to square one. It's safe to say my confidence has taken a knock and once again I feel like the one who wasn't good enough, who didn't deserve her place, even though I know it was my health, and not my ability that hindered me. Incidentally, that's another point I'd like to raise; I guess that just shows how deep the stigma of mental health runs. I often feel like this time out from uni is because I couldn't cope with work and needed a break, that I'm a fraud, hiding behind this supposed illness to get some time off because really, I just wasn't good enough, I couldn't cope. I know that feelings of guilt and worthlessness are symptomatic of depression, but I wonder whether it's an element of stigma too, that if I could physically see this health issue, I wouldn't be feeling like a failure for taking a break to get better.


I've titled this post "why there is no shame in taking time out" and so far, all I've talked about is how upset I am at having to do such. But I guess things are beginning to change, because I'm beginning to accept both my mental health struggles, and that it's ok to need time out to tackle them. I'm trying to no longer be ashamed of all this, because I know it's what was best for me. As my parents came to pick me up from uni, putting all my packed boxes in the car, ready for the drive home and the beginning of my intermission, I remember the wave of relief that washed over me. I knew that I would miss uni, because, truth be told, I love uni. I know it'll absolutely kill me to see all my friends graduate, knowing that I should have been there in cap and gown, in those photos too. But I also knew that trying to push through my final year so I could graduate with everyone else and for the sake of my pride, was never going to end well. At best, I'd graduate with a decent grade, having absolutely hated the last few months as I absolutely pushed my health to the limit. At worst, I would have had a breakdown, crashed out in my exams, and have wasted my opportunity to reach my full potential at one of the best universities in the world.

These next few months are dedicated to recovery. It's going to be anti-depressants, counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy - I know that it's not going to be fun. It'll be tough, and in a sense, it  doesn't feel like time out - but it's time I can spend focussing primarily and wholly on me, without having the pressure of deadlines, future plans and everything else. Hopefully when I begin to see improvements in my health, I can start to think about what is beyond uni, I can start to be re-inspired by life and not see it as such a chore anymore.

My experience is quite an extreme case of needing time out. As I said, in the end, I didn't even get a choice in the matter, I wasn't functioning and therefore I wasn't fit to study. But I think this is relatable on some level for a lot of people, whether you suffer from mental health problems or not.

So many of us get stuck in the monotony of everyday 21st century life. Wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. And so many feel stifled, that we're somewhat stuck in this cycle that we're unable to break out of. And that's where the importance of taking a break comes in. I was fortunate that I was at a time in my life where it wasn't too difficult, nor was it too damaging or consequential for me to take significant time out for recovery. Though ultimately, even if I'd been mid-30s and had had a similar experience with my health, and need to get a sabbatical from work, that's what I'd have had to do! But I think it's important to realise that, for some, quenching that need for space and something different can be as simple as a weekend away from it all; you come back feeling refreshed, and in a better headspace. Maybe it's a case of using your annual leave to travel somewhere you've always wanted, to experience a new culture or lifestyle to gain some perspective. I'm guessing a lot of you reading this will be a similar age to me, uni students and young adults. I feel so many of us who are on the road to finishing uni and having to leave the comfy bubble of education for the big bad 'real world' feel pressure to have to go straight into the work world, into your chosen career because we all put so much pressure on ourselves to 'get ahead'. You know what I say? I say bugger that. Of course it's important to have goals you're working towards, and by all means do whatever you can to get there, but don't do so at the expense of time and experiences that you may not be able to have again. If you're nearing the end of your educational career and you're feeling a reluctance to charge straight ahead into a career or are unsure where you want to go next full stop, don't be afraid to take some time to figure it out. Travel. See new things, meet new people, get an interim job, like in part time retail or temping, from which you can earn some money but still have some time to explore different career paths, have some breathing space to think and plan your next move. I know I run the risk of sounding naive here, but I say we make excuses, we say, 'I can't simply get up and leave', because sometimes, we're secretly quite scared by what we'd love to do. It pushes us out of our comfort zones so we put it beyond the realm of possibility. Because quite simply, why can't you? Why can't you take that trip, or move to that city? The world really is yours for the taking.

Sometimes I think we overcomplicate things. We see one set path and think that we have to stick to it, otherwise we've failed. We don't take the time we need to truly think about what it is that we want to do, or what we want out of life. And I'm beginning to realise that's a big mistake. Even after my intermission, I will hopefully graduate, and then I don't know what! Hopefully I'll fall back in love with studying, and I'll still do the Masters I've always dreamed of doing. Maybe I'll travel. Right now, I kinda think I want to do both! One thing that I'm sure on is that I certainly won't be rushing into a career, and more importantly, a career I don't want. An ex-teacher of mine once told me that when we're in school and uni, it's consistently instilled in us that we don't really have time, we should know what we want to do, that we need to make decisions, and make them quick. But in reality, all we have is time. For ages, I silently scoffed at this. I had a plan and I was going to stick to it. I knew I wanted to have graduated by 21. Masters by 22. Law conversion course, legal training contract - every single element of my life was planned. And now I've thrown it all out, and I haven't gone back to the drawing board. I've thrown that out too. I'm slowly discovering that that teacher was right, we have our whole adult life to work, so you don't need it all figured out by the time you're 21. Your 20s are the years where you learn to adult and can make mistakes, so make them - that's how we grow, after all.
So I guess the take away point is this: It's ok to take a little time out of your hectic, overly routined 21st century life to just focus on you. For whatever reason it may be. To focus on you health and wellbeing, to figure out what you want to do, purely to indulge a sense of adventure. And don't be afraid or ashamed to do so! Don't doubt yourself because of the fear of judgement, the accusations of 'drifting' or being 'work shy'. Follow your gut, you know what's best.

I don't know how the next few months of my intermission will go, but I know that by taking time out, I've given myself, and my mental health particularly, the best possible chance. All I can hope now is that somehow, everything falls into place, I'm told that they always do.

Until next time,
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx



OUTFIT DETAILS

Jumper: H&M (sold out, grey version here)
Jeans: H&M (sold out, very similar here)
Trench: Next
Mules: Ego
Bag: Zara (sold out, similar here and here)
Twilly Scarf: Dior
Sunglasses: Ray Ban
Necklaces: Na-kd Fashion and H&M

p.s. I hope this post didn't come across too much like an ''Eva pity party', because that definitely wasn't the intention. I guess I wanted somewhere to let out everything I've been holding in, but also, I hope, provide comfort to anyone going through the same thing. Let me know what you think in the comments below, I always love reading them! Have you ever taken time out to 'focus on you'?


5 THINGS I'VE LEARNT IN MY FIRST YEAR OF BLOGGING

Monday, 3 April 2017

St. Paul's, London




Hello lovelies! 

I know I know, it's been a while, well, more than a while - four whole months in fact. But this time I haven't just been sitting on my arse lazing about as is my usual measly excuse (well, perhaps a little). Unfortunately the last few months have been rather turbulent, but that's a whole other story for another day (stay tuned for that, it'll be up Monday.) 

But for now, I just knew I had to get a post up to celebrate 1 year of 'What Eva Wears', this little space on the internet that I've come to cherish so dearly.

For it has been one whole year since I decided to get my shit together, get over my stupid insecurities, put myself out there a little, and create my own little space on the internet to witter on all day about my (rather unhealthy) obsession with fashion and beauty. So, on April 3rd 2016 I published my very first post, an outfit post in fact - click here to read it for a good giggle at my horror at taking posey photos in public for the first time, it was quite the ordeal!

So to mark the occasion, I thought I'd have a little reflection on what I've learnt about this weird and wonderful blogosphere in the past year, and also consider in what ways I'd like my blog to evolve in the next one.

1.) It's much harder to build a following than first thought.

Now if you're anything like me, seeing little to no growth in following seems to be a major set back. You can sit for hours trying to think of interesting and unique content, spend some more hours (and probably some money too) creating said content, only for you to hit publish on a post you're extremely proud of, check google analytics the next day, and see you've had 3 views. To top it off, one of those views is most probably from your home address - so you know that's your number one fan aka you dear mother offering you a bit of support. For me this was incredibly frustrating at the beginning, and I won't pretend that there aren't occasions when I still feel this way. But what I've come to realise is this: it is the waiting game of growing a following that weeds out the fickle from the dedicated and determined. Building a true, engaged following in the honest way will take time and effort, but it will be far more rewarding in the long run than having gained that following through shadier means (*side-eye to those buying followers*).
I suspect the follower frustration is that which causes a lot of people to quit blogging so soon after they begin. But I've realised that numbers really aren't everything. I've watched blogs grow greatly in such a short space of time and have mulled over why the same hasn't happened to my own, why my formula 'doest work', but I always end up plodding along with creating content, purely because I love it. I love the process of putting an outfit together, of editing the imagery and just writing whatever I want, and whether 30,000 of you read it or just 1, I've realised that it's the process that is so rewarding for me, everything on top is just a bonus. 

2.) You won't feel perpetually inspired, and that's ok. 

When I first started blogging I was on an absolute content creating high. I had tonnes of ideas, pages and pages of scrawny notes scribbled into an old notebook of outfits I planned to shoot, think pieces I wanted to write, products I wanted to review, so on and so forth. So you'll understand my complete surprise when 2 months into blogging, I was completely stumped on what to post. I had no ideas. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. And of course, this led to a little dry spell of no content, me fretting about displaying a lack of consistency and therefore losing followers (which did happen), which then led me to feeling more uninspired. I guess what I didn't realise is that one will not feel constantly inspired. In hindsight, this is something I should have anticipated, seeing as I studied Art at both GCSE and A Level, and would often go through periods where I would experience total apathy towards it, and would begrudgingly get out my sketch pad to draw or paint. I'd have nothing innovative to produce and I'd feel completely fed up. And then the next week I'd have a wave of creativity and I'd be working all day and catching up on all the coursework I got behind on during my dry spell during the night too.
Sometimes the creative juices just flow, other times there's a complete drought - and that's fine. Relax, don't put pressure on yourself - it's surprising how quickly you'll get your mojo back. 



3.) Blogging is a rather expensive hobby.

Credit to my constantly nagging mother for that annoyingly truthful sub-title. One thing I didn't really anticipate was how much getting sucked into the blogging bubble would encourage and influence my own shopping habits and if I'm honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, yes I love indulging in the latest trend, or seeking out a highly sort after item, almost consequently feeling like one of the 'in crowd' when my efforts are met with success. Nevertheless, scanning my room right now and seeing the numerous packages, clothes, and just stuff in general, I have to pose the question, has blogging ultimately sparked a wave of negative spending habits? I fear blogging has sucked me ever deeper into the perils of consumerism, further blurring the lines between 'want' and 'need'. I'm ashamed to admit the number of times I've sulked when something I've been lusting after has sold out completely in my size and I've pathetically whimpered something along the lines of, "but I need that wide sleeve shirt to match my stepped hem jeans and it's the biggest trend of this season!" It's all fun and games until you're deep in your overdraft and realise student loan isn't due until next term - beans on toast diet it is! I've actually prepared a couple of posts already on the possible negative impact the blogosphere has on our personal style because I think there's much to discuss on this topic. Let's be honest, how often do we truly love and enjoy a trend and how often are we just 'doing it for the 'gram'? Something to think about. 

I bet at this point you're thinking, bloody hell, Eva, do you want to be any more of a debbie downer? If there's all these negatives, why the hell do you still blog?! So, let's look at some more positive pointers..

4.) You'll love the feeling when you hit publish on a blog post you've worked really hard on. 

I always feel so completely accomplished when I've sat fixated on my laptop for a few hours, and finally hit publish on my work. We all approach our content differently I'm sure, but I approach each blog post as a mini project, and I love it. There's really nothing like seeing all your work come together, having watched the project progress from a few scribbled notes in a notebook, to images ready to be edited, to piecing it together with the text you've spent so long writing. Then suddenly you hit publish, it's all over and you're onto the next. 

5.) There's nothing better than reading the comments of those who engage with your content.

Yes, generic, cliché and maybe slightly cringe, but after all, we create content for it to be read and commented upon. For me, so much of the fun is seeing what other people have to say about what I've produced. From the vanity perspective, there's no denying that there's that feel good factor, that little 'pick me up' every time I read one of the lovely comments left on a post. But more than that, it's hearing people's opinions and on not just the general aesthetics of an outfit, but whatever I've taken so much time to sit and write. My absolute favourite post that I've created to date was my very first 'think piece' style post about insecurity and the blogosphere (read here if you missed it) - so many of you left such insightful comments which really generated discussion and which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Really, this is what I hope to see more of in the future. 



So, what are my goals going forward?

1.) Consistency - Now, I know I sound like a hypocrite as I've just nattered on about creating when the creativity flows and all that malarkey, but what I mean here is that there is many a time where I have an idea, and just don't execute it because of 'other commitments'. Whilst I do lead a busy life which blogging is only a small part of, I know for a fact that if I were more organised and not the winner of the procrastinator of the year award, that I'd be able to produce regular content. So this is what I'm going to try and do this year; get my arse in gear, sort myself out, and create more!

2.) Write more think pieces - As I say, my favourite post was my first think piece, and I'm most definitely a person with a lot of opinions on just about everything, especially things in the blogging world. This year I'd definitely like to write more of this style post as it seems popular with you lovely readers (my insecurity post is still my most highly viewed to date!) and I'll never pass up a chance to natter on about my opinions and why they're right. (looool!)

Most importantly though, I want to remember to have fun with it.  I've seen many a post recently from individuals becoming ambivalent towards the blogging world, cynical about brand collabs and money making in the industry, and frustrated at the constant numbers game. I'd like to hope that I'd kinda be able to rise above all that. I'd just like to keep my blog a hobby in which I can indulge as an escape from the more mundane, monotonous aspects of my life, and therefore there's no need to stress when I don't have time to shoot, or when my following stagnates. 

It's so incredibly important that you blog for you; the fact that you love it and nothing else, and it'll always be a rewarding hobby to have - no matter your follow count or how much money you may or may not be making.



I hope you enjoyed this post lovelies! Did any of you experience similar thoughts after starting out in blogging? What are your goals for your blogs? Let me know in the comments! Oh and lastly, let me know if there's anything you'd like to see on 'What Eva Wears'!

Stay tuned as there'll be another post this week! 

Until next time, 
Bisous <3

Eva 
xxx

OUTFIT DETAILS:

T-shirt: Missguided (old, similar slogan tees here)
Jeans: Bershka (old, v. similar frayed hem jeans here)
Coat: H&M (sold out -  Similar pink coats here and here)
Shoes: Topshop (sold out, v. similar here, here and here)
Hat: Asos (Here)
Bag: Zara (sold out - my oh my I'm not doing very well with these links! But here's something similar)
Silk Scarf: Dior
Necklaces: H&M/Na-kd Fashion

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