Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Back to School

Top & Skirt - ASOS Curve, Cardigan - Primark, Bag - Nica,
Tights - Marks & Spencer, Shoes - Topshop
It's not 'back to school' for me exactly, but as I vaguely mentioned in my last blog post I am returning to uni! You may already know that I graduated with a degree in Fashion Design last year, so by 'returning to uni', I do actually mean a whole new adventure! By the end of this week I will be all packed up and I'll be moving to a new city, starting at a new university, and this time for a postgrad course. I am very excited and I'm looking forward to a fresh start after a bit of a tough year, but I'm also understandably nervous. I haven't had much time to get my head around it as I applied for uni SO last minute - only four weeks ago to be exact. We were a little unsure I would even find somewhere for me to live, but thankfully we did! The funding was also something we had to think about because unless you do a teaching or medical postgrad, you don't get any (or just very limited) help from the government, unlike an undergraduate degree where you're given the money and just rack up the debt instead. (I'll likely be paying that off until my dying day unless there's some miracle) But luckily it has all worked out! Hopefully the course and the move will go well, and that I will enjoy my brief return to uni life, and I will try to keep you all updated along the way, if possible.

This week I met up with the lovely Isha for a bit of a 'farewell meal' (I've had a lot of those recently), so you can thank her for these pictures! She asked me to take some pictures for her, so I thought I might as well ask her to return the favour too seeing as it's not often I have another blogger around to take photo's for me! I've been searching high and low for new 'back to school/uni'/basically autumn clothes, but I'm having no such luck. (like I mentioned in the last blog post too) The only thing I found remotely nice was this tartan top from ASOS Curve! I'm glad I bought it, but one t-shirt hardly spruces up my wardrobe. Plus size fashion, you need to up your game sometime soon please! The rest of my outfit is all incredible old, but favourite items, that you've seen me wear before. I felt a little bit Christmassy wearing tartan and velvet, but it's a bit early for that!

This might be the last time you hear from me for a while, (minus my book club posts) as like I said I start my new adventure at the end of the week so I won't have time or anyone around to take pictures for me. I will of course try my best if opportunities arise for blog pictures, but I can't promise anything. I'm also going to try and take photo's before I leave inbetween packing, but I'll have to see how that goes. Anyway, I apologise in advance for the lack of blogging over the coming months, and this is most definitely NOT the end of my blog! Until next time,

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Book Club: August 2014

August 2014: The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan

This months book, or should I say last month's book seeing as we're now in September and I was late reading it again, was The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan chosen by Marie. Just to clarify, this book has nothing to do with circus', but is actually about a family who have suffered the tragedy of 18 year old Faith's mysterious death whilst she was off travelling around Europe. The book is set throughout the 1960's and the 1970's, but apart from the underlining politics of the storyline, I personally didn't feel it was that obvious and I kept picturing the characters in the present time, which I didn't mind.

Eight years after Faith's death and her younger sister, Phoebe, has also reached the age of 18. Phoebe's memories as a child have led her to worship the image of her sister, and since her death she has slept in Faith's room every night. Whether it's the big age gap or her idolisation of her sister, she is the only one out of her family in search of truth surrounding Faith's death. I think this is mainly because Phoebe is the only one in the family who hasn't come to terms with her sister's death, and everyone else has learnt to move on, or already knows the truth. So of course, following her sister's footsteps, she clears out her savings and carelessly books a flight to Europe without any plans, or telling anyone where she's going. Once she gets to Europe she predictably follows the same route her sister had done eight years ago by the postcards she had sent them.

I can't tell you much more than that without giving away the story because Phoebe's travel's around Europe are the main bulk of the book. I'm not really into travelling/road trips books and I found Phoebe frustrating most of the time. I felt that Phoebe reached 18 and just thought that now she was that age she had to follow the stereotypical route and do everything at once: travelling, drugs, alcohol, boyfriends, university etc. (sense me rolling my eyes here) When clearly that's not her. But in her eyes, that was her sister. In my opinion, the two sister's are very different people with very few similarities other than being related, therefore Phoebe's constant attempt to be Faith was really irritating, especially when you find out more about Faith's history and personality, and who she was leading up to the time of her death. I really didn't like Faith, or at least the memory of her described by the other characters. The only character that I sort-of liked was 'Wolf' - but I can't really tell you much about him because I don't want to ruin the plot.

I enjoyed this month's book because it was an easy read and a writing style that I'm more used to, as I have previously struggled with both June's and July's books. I really don't connect well with a book when the writing overpowers the plot line, but The Invisible Circus has the right balance. However, I didn't feel that connected with Faith or her death - I don't often cry over a book, but I didn't even feel that sad. I think it's because I didn't like Faith as a character, or the way we saw her from Phoebe's point of view. Phoebe herself was a bit more likeable, but also I found her extremely frustrating with her recklessness and naivety, and her hypocrisy of leaving her Mum and brother behind without any communication. (Yes, there is a brother but he's barely mentioned and there wasn't much point to his character) I haven't also mentioned their Father yet, who takes up a big chunk of the first part of the book, giving us a backstory to the family. He died when the children were all young and Faith was still around, she was about 13 I believe. I found the Father a very strange character, and he had weird relationships with his children. Before he died he was a failing artist, but art wasn't his main career. He was infatuated with Faith, and she was solely his muse, and he very rarely painted the other children. This put intense pressure on Faith to constantly keep her father interested, but it seemed to be something she enjoyed. Faith and Phoebe's brother, Barry, is the inbetween child, and he seemed annoyed but accepting of the relationship between Faith and their Father. Whereas Phoebe, who was about 5, looked on with jealousy.

Up until the last chapter, in my head I was thinking of giving this book a four out of five stars as I had enjoyed Phoebe's journey of self discovery. But like I've said before, endings really are make or break; I found the ending of The Invisible Circus was very long, but also not completely satisfying, but I think that's more of a matter of a opinion and what different people like to get out of a book. I think I would of liked to have seen more of a darker story line that had more of an impact on me, but instead I walked away from this book without much thoughts or feelings about it, and I think this had affected my review because I've struggled with what to say about it. If you're looking for an easy-going book, then I would say give it ago because it was mostly enjoyable, and for a debut novel it is very well written and put together.

p.s I'm going to try my hardest to be on time for this month's book!

3 out of 5 stars

Add me on: Goodreads

And don't forget to check out the rest of the book club's review of The Invisible Circus too:

Looking forward to the next book!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Farewell Summer

Dress - Handmade by me, Kimono - ASOS Curve,
Bag - Shop in Rome, Shoes - Topshop (old)

I'm so deeply unhappy with these photo's for so many different reasons that I'm amazed I even managed to put together this blog post. I'm my own worst critic, but these photo's just aren't up to my standard but I felt like I needed to post as it's been so long since my last. I always mention how little time I've had to blog recently, and I'm jealous of other bloggers who find time and motivation to be able to blog regularly. When I do get spare time to take pictures, I find that either no one is about to take the photo's, the weather is bad, or I'm really not in the mood but there's this pressure weighing down on me with a voice in the back of my head saying 'if you don't take them now, then when?', and then time floats by and the pressure increases. I could've taken pictures yesterday as it was the first free day I've had in weeks, but all I wanted to do was relax and have fun with my friends, and I ended up feeling guilty for not taking pictures. Today the weather was good so my Mum dragged me out, and it was a good excuse to wear this dress which I made weeks and weeks ago and had planned to wear on our little holiday to the coast, but instead it rained the whole time. We took some pictures today but I was immediately just not feeling it. There's not always a specific reason that I can pinpoint my unhappiness, but I just was so unhappy about everything. Lighting, styling, my hair, location, my mood... and more and more. I get this feeling a lot, and it really effects my blogging to the point where I feel like quitting - after all, this is just a hobby and if it's not fun anymore, then what's the point? You're probably thinking I'm being silly and overacting, but not blogging often enough is something that plays on my mind a lot as I don't like to do anything half-heartedly, or let people (my readers) down. I realise that no one else is putting the pressure on me, it's just me doing it to myself.

Apart from just finding time, another thing that has bothered me lately has been the lack of clothes that I like on the high street, and the selection is minimal. I realise that new plus size lines are starting up all the time but I feel like it hasn't necessarily always been a positive thing. It's ended up with loads of lazy collections, some with about 10 items of clothing with no design elements which they will then charge £50 for, or others have just selected the most boring stuff from their main range and sized it up. Companies have seen a way to cash in on the plus size community, not really caring about what the customer wants or what is missing from the industry, and in reality if they did their research properly they would end up with even more money. And loads of companies wonder why their plus size lines aren't selling?! So even though there's technically more selection, I feel that in 2014 where we've come so far, I have less actual options to choose from. And as an out of work fashion design graduate, who is returning to uni for a postgrad course in two weeks (but I'll talk about that another time), the lack of effort these plus size companies put in really frustrate me. I'm jumping up and down here, begging to design clothes that plus size women want, but no one will give me the opportunity. That's why I feel so passionately about starting up my own business, because I can't rely on the industry to do what I personally think is staring them in the face. But back to how this effects my blogging - I only blog about things that I want to share, because they're worth sharing. When I get a new dress, I instantly want to blog it and be like 'LOOK HOW PRETTY THIS DRESS IS'. But if the clothes don't inspire me, then my blogging enthusiasm goes. I've literally worn the same five dresses all Summer due to this problem, and also because of my lack of money, hence me rarely blogging, and even my usual favourite shops have let me down... which leads me back to this dress I recently made.

You may recognise the print of this dress as to make it I took apart a very old New Look Inspire dress that I had never worn due to it being a bit tight around the bust and way too short on the length. (and I'm only 5ft4, so I'm not sure what New Look were thinking - back to my earlier point of companies getting it wrong) I tried to sell the original dress the other month at the plus size market, thinking someone shorter than me might want it because the print is so lovely, but it didn't sell. So I decided to take it apart, chop it up, create a new dress design with some fabric I found on holiday and - hey ho, there we go! I'm really pleased with it, but like I said at the beginning - I don't think the pictures do it any justice. I'm hoping to make another dress in the same design but with different fabrics in the next two weeks before I leave for university. Anyway, I hope I haven't rambled too much - but please let me know your thoughts on plus size fashion at the moment? And also how do you fit blogging into your schedule, and stay motivated and inspired at the same time? Until next time,

p.s. I recently was interviewed by the lovely Leah for her new monthly 'top bloggers' segment that she has recently started, so go check it out!