Monday, 31 August 2015

VIDEO: Our Trip To Wales



It feels like far longer than a couple of weeks ago, but here is the vlog from our trip to Wales! If you like the seaside, then this one's for you...



I hope everyone had a lovely weekend - let me know what you got up to in the comments below!

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

SPACES: Forge 2 Art Gallery In Oxfordshire





It's so easy to romanticise distant places and forget that your own area is very much worth exploring too... And with that in mind I present the first of a series showing you guys the sights that are very much worth seeing in my area. For reference, I live in the mighty midlands :)

The Forge 2 gallery in Oxfordshire can be found in beautiful Culworth village, a setting that looks about as English as any place could possibly be. Comprising of a larger gallery room and gift shop, it is a stunning space dedicated solely to celebrating the best of UK art. Each exhibition runs for a 12 week period, so each season will see a total transformation take place within its beautiful four walls.



I like to think it offers a little something for everyone; its current exhibition is home to beautiful woodwork, ceramics, paintings and a great deal more.



To me it is an idyllic little island, filled with carefully curated treasures waiting to be discovered...

Everything Emma Westmacott made was sheer perfection... The sea-inspired pieces were so special!


It's of course nigh on impossible to pick favourites from such a lovely selection, but the Emma Westmacott collection was stunning and I hankered after an Adam Ross tea set. I was alas limited by the contents of my bank account (or lack thereof) and went home with a delightful compromise: one of Clare Dawdry's dreamy turquoise mugs... mint tea has never been so delicious!

Adam Ross ceramics - such clean and tactile shapes!



The loveliest gift shop in the western hemisphere, probably





If you find yourself in the area I know you will be just as charmed by this space as I am... Sadly they do not have an online shop but you can follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or read up on their lovely website!



And there we have it - this was officially the most fun post I've ever had to research! Have you guys been doing your own exploring recently? I would love to hear about any lovely spaces near you in the comments below :)


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Monday, 24 August 2015

VIDEO: Simple Pleasures #2 - At The Beach



Good day to you my friend - if you were hoping to be eased into your Monday a little more gently, then today's video is most definitely for you!

Last week I went to Wales with some lovely ladies and had the most gorgeous of times. A vlog is following next week but for now, enjoy this little snapshot of our beach as part of my series on celebrating the simplest of pleasures.







How were your weeks everyone? I spent the weekend falling in love with alpacas and knitting my mum a hat... So it was pretty great! Lemme know how you are doing in the comments below!




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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Beauty Blogging: I'm Taking A Break


It's been far too long since I talked about beauty on this blog and today we right that wrong, friends; but not necessarily in the way you were expecting. I feel I need to mention that this post is specific to beauty blogging; I'll be continuing to share posts on other topics, do not worry!

Honestly, this was a subject I have been avoiding for fear of throwing unintended shade (like a mindless parasol, you might say)... but I have learnt that I blog best when I blog honestly, so here we are! I want to stress that I still enjoy makeup, I still love reading people's thoughts on what they enjoy using and I still like giving people recommendations when they're in a pickle.  That's not changed.

If you've not read my thoughts on minimalism post, you may not have seen that I'm trying to be a bit less stuff-orientated. For me, beauty blogging has involved buying a lot more stuff under the pretence of blogging about it and honestly, I just don't want to do that on a regular basis any more.

There is a second reason for wanting to leave beauty alone for a while; I'd like to go cruelty-free and much of my stash just is not. At some point I do want to check in and let you know how that transition is going, but for now I can't really recommend anything I don't feel 100% comfortable using. My plan is to use what I have and then move on to buying all things cruelty free from then on.

I hope this post isn't too disappointing to anyone? Fingers crossed on that one. I'll still be blogging away, but I'm looking to emphasise the aspects of my life that aren't just things I've purchased... We shall see how I get on!


If you are/have gone cruelty free, please give me all the guidance. I am planning a post soon on the areas/products that I am finding most difficult to switch, so keep em peeled for that one!



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Monday, 17 August 2015

DIY: Seashell Hair Clip



I find myself looking for ways to get more crafty and if you are too, this little DIY might be perfect for you!



YOU WILL NEED:


Seashells
Hair Clips
White Modelling Clay
Strong Glue





If this gets you inspired to make then I would love to see what you come up with - even if it's not using shells, making your own hair clip is an insanely satisfying thing to do!




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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Anna Gets Into Magazines





I have finally been bitten by the magazine bug and loving finding beautiful sources of inspiration. This roundup features all the zines that have been keeping me sane as I bust through these essays... and trust me, there are some beautiful options here. Let me introduce you to the gang!







   

The Gentlewoman


The zine that started it all off. Published twice a year, this £6 piece of beauty is actually one of the more affordable ones on this list... And yes, I do feel ashamed. If we ignore the price, you can find beautifully curated material that is written for an intelligent audience. Gone are the dull pages on diet and exercise that dominate The Gentlewoman's peer publishings; instead you will find excellently written content on an array of genuinely interesting subjects. I also adore their visuals: think glamorously minimal and you've got the idea.

This beauty scores bonus points for the variety of figures interviewed; with Bj├Ârk on the cover and interviews starring everyone from Countess Spencer to The Staves, it made for a deeply refreshing read.


Vogue


I had quite the hiatus from reading Vogue, and was pleasantly surprised by their July issue. The interview with my wife the actress Ruth Wilson impressed me by how well it avoided the "SHE HAS IT ALL" drivel that you'll find in most A-list celeb interviews. I was also intrigued by their article on the political history of the colour pink: I despise the shade but adored the piece. Some parts weren't quite to my firmly feminist tastes, as the issue looked at what to wear at what age and sadly did not come back with the correct answer, which is "Whatever You F*cking Want". Overall, however, I found it stimulating and of course, beautiful to look at.


The Happy Reader


I bought the first issue of this beauty and I would recommend you only do so if you are 100% comfortable with the fact you will be in love with Dan Stevens afterwards. UK-based subscriptions to this will set you back all of £2 (score) with its release being described as "seasonal"... by this they do mean quarterly. The format is simple: half of its 64 pages are given to a gloriously long chat with a wonderful bookworm, the rest centres on a book chosen in the last issue, with a few literary updates chucked in for good measure. I've already subscribed as it is an invaluable source of good writing and a hefty amount of reading recommendations. Its layout is fun too, with the more obscure references footnoted in the margin (I love footnotes). One for book nerds everywhere.




 

Cereal


Dear. Lord. I know now that I should never have bought this one as I have set myself up for shedding £12 every six months for the rest of my days. Cereal is about 200 pages of sheer beauty. Everything from its phenomenal photography to its lovely layout has been carefully considered, with text and images that are equally divine. On this occasion I didn't even feel like I'd bought a mere magazine; instead I'm telling myself it is an amazing book that was put together with the sole mission of making my heart cry. Proceed with caution, friends.


Oh Comely


Now £5 an issue, Oh Comely's bi-monthly release is not the only reason this particular publication has won me over. Whereas Cereal's magic is in its untouchable visuals and professional feel, Oh Comely has a real warmth to it, with some pieces that read like perfectly crafted diary entries. The  first issue I laid my hands on took the weather as its recurring theme, a topic I was initially put off by but ended up loving. The visuals also look like they've been shot on film, something I appreeeesh, and I loved all the small brands and creatives that are featured... It's getting a big thumbs up.


Kinfolk


I couldn't leave Kinfolk off my reading list... It has been on my radar for far too long! Kinfolk made for a weighty read, physically and intellectually, with some pieces that really got me thinking this month. It is released quarterly and will set you back around £12, so I will sadly be holding off from a subscription (for now...) Its images are almost alarmingly clean and I also appreciated the range of topics covered, especially the recipes. The pieces were well written and thought-provoking, enjoyable even when I didn't 100% agree with them. I shall most certainly be purchasing this one again.


And there you have it... My roundup of some lovely reads to enjoy over the end of summer! Do you have any recommendations? I think the next on my list is Toc Toc magazine... 

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Monday, 10 August 2015

VIDEO: Chatty Catchup Time





It has been many months since I sat down in front of a camera and had a proper chat, and in that time a lot has changed! Today's video is just a catchup on the many, many things that are now different - I hope you enjoy :)


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Saturday, 8 August 2015

THOUGHTS ON: Are We Doing Minimalism Wrong?



I've been thinking a lot lately about the minimalism thing... and in its cool, unassuming ways lies a worry for me. One question has resurfaced over and over -


Is our view of minimalism really about living with less?



The last couple of years has seen a wave of cleaner and simpler styles flood high street brands like H&M, Zara and Forever 21, while homes, hairstyles, makeup and of course fashion took on a Scandinavian-inspired sense of "less is more". Elegant, understated pendants replaced the statement necklace. Quiet, unassuming white t-shirts stepped in over fussy printed pieces. We cleared our wardrobes, emptied our bathroom cupboards, binned the clutter that topped our dressers, and headed for the tills with anything that hinted at functionality and a simpler, happier life... Or at least, I certainly did.

It's been almost 18 months since I started my "minimalist journey" and I've hit a stumbling block. I've realised that I'm not really a "minimalist" after all. I'm a consumerist who's happily bought into the latest hype; I've even got the bank balance to prove it.

Where I had hoped to find clear, empty spaces in both my home and my life, I've realised that the room I made with endless clear-outs has instead been filled by yet more mass-produced, unethically made stuff. Stuff that is undeniably less colourful and busy than the items it replaced, but nevertheless - there's far more than I need.

Is this minimalist trend (and yes, I am calling it a trend because I fear that is all it is) just plain old fashioned consumerism... but this time a little plainer? Are those calming, unassuming neutrals just making it easier to amass still more crap that won't last five minutes?

Minimalism and its sibling essentialism have, I feel, been warped by our unacknowledgeable need to fill the emptiness in our lives with stuff. Had a bad day? Buy some simple silver earrings*. Had a great day? You deserve those fashionably hideous Birkenstock sandals*. Ultimately, I believe that nothing has changed.





What should minimalism be about?



For starters, I think we need to think less about our stuff. To stop placing so much value on a Pinterest-perfect wardrobe, even when it's one that packs up properly into a tiny suitcase.

I'd like us to spend less time minimising our wardrobes and more time minimising the amount of brain space we so happily give to the objects in our lives.

I'd like us to buy out of necessity and not emotion. I'd like us to prioritise spending money on time with our favourite people over spending it on our favourite brands.

I'd like us to worry more about where the things we do buy come from and worry less about whether these things make us cooler or more worthy of love.

Lastly I would like us to value other commodities that we are rich in, be they time, health, youth, or love.



If ever there were a post I wanted to hear your thoughts on, it is this one. Are you just as concerned by minimalism - or do you disagree with me? Come and have a chat in the comments because I would love to hear from you!



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* I mention these not because there is anything in particular wrong with them, but because I literally own them.


NB I have just adapted this to make my point clearer; I do not take umbrage with the minimalist lifestyle, but with those big brands that have turned its principles into a trend with which they can sell more cheap crap. I realised after a chat with Sophie that it was unintentionally ambiguous when first published!