Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Blogging, Rags of Love, and 2014

'We must make do with what rags of love we find flapping on the scarecrow of humanity.' - Angela Carter, Nights of the Circus

How do I possibly even begin to sum up what has been the most extraordinary, most difficult, yet happiest year of my life? Well, of course it came with its usual obstacles. Not to mention more difficult, often terrifying, more traumatic ones. Yet somewhat unexpectedly, I'm ending this year feeling happier than I ever have. I addressed in a post earlier this year about the importance of loving and accepting yourself, and it seems appropriate to reaffirm how important that change has been this year.
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2014 was the year where I learnt the most about life, about other people, about relationships, about myself. The experiences that I have had this year and what I have taken from them are completely indispensable. It's taken a lot of cups of tea made by my brother from another mother Luke, an inordinate amount of bread, lots of confessional talks with my partner in crime Maire, a few tears, a few more belly laughs, some home truths, and continuous listening sessions to my musical rocks Sufjan Stevens and Foals, but I've made it through 2014 feeling better than ever. Lowlights of the year seemed plentiful at the time, but highlights included graduating university with an unexpected first class degree, having the opportunity to work on some exciting but challenging projects at my job, moving to a lovely little flat where I feel so much at home, continuing to write the blog and making new friends from that, and meeting tons of exciting new people in my non internet life. 2014 was also the time when I can safely say I became a more confident, happy person. I've still got a long way to go, but if this year has shown me anything, it's that I can do anything. Apart from possibly become an rocket scientist, as I might have left that a bit late.
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These are some of my hopes for 2015 (in the vain hope that I can hold myself accountable by the end of 2015 when I'm sitting in a onesie, alone, mascara down my face, eating donuts):
That I'll be writing more regularly on the blog (I said that last year, and I've not been able to rack up that many more posts this year, but next year will BE THE YEAR, honest guv)
That I'll be writing on the regs more generally (and with phrases like 'on the regs' how could I possibly fail)?
That I'll spend less money on furry coats and more money on experiences.
That I'll keep up with all my friend's and family's birthdays.
That I'll learn a new skill, hopefully an instrument (I used to play the guitar and had designs on being the next Avril Lavigne, it could still happen)
That I'll not fall into traps of thinking of myself as inferior and inadequate, and go for things (and I could not have had a better grounding for such a mindset than in 2014)

I always love to hear other people's NY resolutions, so please let me know what your hopes for the New Year are in the comments! I really hope you all have a brilliant 2015 and that you'll stick with this blog for more questionable fashion advice!
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A New Year's Eve Look

Oh dear, some how I managed to miss the Christmas post boat. I was very proud of my offerings last year, namely my exploration of Oxford at Christmas, but this year a demanding schedule and an intense hatred of Christmas jumpers seemed to stop my efforts in their tracks. So this takes us to New Year's, and I thought I would share with you an outfit that I will very likely be wearing. Though, having said that, I'm of the rather pessimistic view that NYE is always a disappointment as there's too much pressure to have fun, but hey, if I can look stylish during it, I guess that's a saving grace right?  photo a92085be-2d53-4e02-84f7-cad9d32ddc5a_zps12a425e0.jpg
Dress - Daisystreet
Jacket - Topshop (sold out)
Bag - Asos (sold out but there are some similar ones)

I absolutely love this dress, partly because it has the word 'mermaid' in its name, always an instant sell for me. It's also made of a super comfortable, tight fitting fabric, and I've been wearing it regularly day to day. It is the perfect match for this New Look bag, which is so incredibly beautiful and has been hanging pride of place in my room, typically catching the light in the morning and throwing lots of rainbow light across my room.
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Thrown over the dress is my banana jacket, which I really don't wear enough when you take into account how bloody AWESOME it is. I think it really adds to the colours in this outfit, contrasting with the blue as well as making the red lipstick (Mac, Lady Danger,) more intense. Altogether it's a very glamorous, but actually really comfortable look, so no shuffling around uncomfortably in itchy sequins or overly tight disco pants.
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Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Styling an American Apparel Crop Top

Hey, hi hello, it's been too long! Truthfully I feel as if I'm still in a stage where nothing looks quite right on me, and other concerns, other than fashion and style, have been on my mind. Although, having said that, I went mildly crazy in the Black Friday sales and picked up a few things that reignited that fire.  But ANYWAY, anyway, the crop top of this post was *adopts American voiceover accent* brought to you by T-shirts Online, who offered me a product to style on this fair blog. They had a little selection of American Apparel pieces, including this top, which I'd actually been meaning to pick up for a while, so thanks guys! I thought I'd style it up in two ways, although to be honest, it's a black top, so it pretty much goes with anything, but let's ignore that reality for a moment and pretend I'm done something clever... photo d2e198d2-9eff-4775-8617-2d7ea24f6b74_zps0da88c6e.jpg
Cardigan - American Apparel
Trousers - American Apparel
Top - C/O Buy T-Shirts Online
Bag - New Look via Asos
Shoes - H&M

Look one is all about American Apparel. Nobody is claiming they're a flawless company, my Easy jeans decided to rip open at the butt one fine day when I was travelling across London. But there's something about the fit of AA clothes which is always so perfect. They're just so incredibly flattering, and I don't feel that it's just in the case of those who have a very skinny body type. For instance, these AA riding pants make me feel super curvy, when in reality I'd probably describe my body type as 'curly pencil' (someone once described me as having a body like a Curly Wurly, which is interesting). Alongside this I have my new Boucle shawl cardigan, which I've rarely taken off since I've received it, although most of the time I'm wearing it over pyjamas and generally looking a bit of a slob. It's an unnaturally colourless outfit for me, but it made me feel very womanly whilst swishing around in it. Now I just need to find a horse, although getting one up my block of flats could prove tricky.

Also, how I could I forget the burger clutch? I am absolutely on board with the trend for novelty bags at the moment, and I have to say that New Look are absolutely killing it with their selection on Asos. Mostly I'm just using this one as decoration at the moment, as a testament to the fact that I am most definitely a girl who eats her feelings.
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Fur coat - Asos (sold out)
Skirt - Ark Vintage
Bag - Cambridge Satchel

Look two might be perceived as a little impractical for the current weather climate, but using my genius fashion filled noggin, I decided to put my multicoloured fur coat over it. It's very much a clash of colours, but as you might have guessed, I'm pretty into that ya know. This Ark Vintage skirt is probably my favourite vintage find, it's the perfect length and makes me feel like I should be spending months in the South of France painting a landscape on a canvas. It's also the ideal accompaniment to a crop top, and I can imagine this will a staple outfit once Summer rolls around again (yes, I realise that is awfully far away).
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Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Thursday, 27 November 2014

How do you like your eggs?

It's good to be spontaneous sometimes. When two of my best friends Luke and Bradley suggested a day trip to Brighton over the weekend, I immediately said yes. As you might be aware, Brighton has a really special place in my heart, as I've had some great experiences there. This time we mostly wandered around Snoopers Paradise, where I bought a Dala Horse and Luke bought some gauntlets (yes, gauntlets). It was also a great excuse to dress up, and wear something a bit, ur, different.  photo 16a4c671-29ba-4dd1-a568-998c9479ba2e_zpsc532c4dd.jpg
Top and Skirt - The Whitepepper
Shoes - H&M
Bag - Waterstones

I never used to like eggs. And you know what, I'd never really considered them for a fashion statement. But the Whitepepper's Autumn collection takes inspiration from food staples such as bread and eggs, which is certainly very distinctive. It's also great for slipping a few 'eggcellent' food based puns into your fashion blog, right? I don't get to do that too often. Truthfully, seeing the gorgeous Andini rocking this two piece drove me to purchase the exact same outfit and basically become her eggy twin. Now I'm just waiting for more food print fashion - my ideas include a Greggs sausage roll print dress and an Iceland pizza print top. I can definitely see that one catching on.
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Just a cute photo from the Snooper's Paradise photobooth! 

Thanks so much to Luke for taking the pictures, and to Bradley for waiting patiently like the saint that he is.
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Friday, 21 November 2014

Space Witch

After a small hiatus which I can only put down to feeling totally uninspired and working on various other things, Belly is back, back again. And this time, she's got a somewhat unsuitable choice of clothing for the current weather climate (don't worry, the odd third person narrative isn't going to continue past this parenthesis). Part of why I haven't done an outfit post for a while is because I've been feeling a little disconnected from the way I look. I was pretty bored of it, to be honest. I'd put on the first thing I could find for work and would find myself looking in the mirror at my clothes and my hair and going...'meh'. It's a bit of a departure from my last post championing self love, but it wasn't so much self hate but self...indifference. I always find in those situations that getting a bit dressed up helps, oh, and also, a bit of impromptu hair dying, as you might have noticed!

Top and skirt - Boohoo (sold out)
Jacket - Unif via Depop
Bag - Choies
Shoes - Nike via Asos (sold out)

You know when you're not feeling so great about yourself? Wear your favourite things. This Unif I Dye Moto jacket and these (slightly scruffy) Nike trainers are currently my favourite things. Alongside it I've got my Boohoo neon top and skirt co ord. I made a Boohoo order recently predominantly of 'basics' such as pencil skirts and black dresses, but this one particularly stands out for obvious reasons, not to mention managing to make me look mega curvy (or maybe that's down to pizza and donuts)?

And we come back to the hair, which is the first time I've had to update you on it in months! I've certainly been liking my light blonde hair, but naturally I got a little bored after I'd had such a long stint of changing my hair colour almost weekly. This is a pretty subtle change, just a 15 minute coating with a small amount of Bleach's Awkward Peach hair dye. I really like how it's come out, and it helps to soften my facial features (having very white blonde hair can be quite harsh on your skin tone).

Also do you like my brooch? I bought it ages ago from a seller called Cakeeater on Etsy. She's not selling these at the moment but she sold a whole selection of cute brooches with words such as 'loser' and 'cute' on it. It's a perfect mixture of my favourite things, witchcraft and um, sparkly glittery stuff.

Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Inspiration Hour: Be Nice to Yourself, Okay?

'If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?' RuPaul

In July, I graduated university. This should have been a happy time, I had done better than I could have ever expected to do, after years of telling myself how stupid I was, how inarticulate, consistently assaulting myself over and over again with thoughts that I was never good enough. I saw my parents and how proud they were of me, and it was an extremely overwhelming experience.

The truth was, at this incredibly happy time, that I had never felt more miserable. I had been through an extremely hard time, a mixture of exterior issues and self inflicted hatred, and getting up in the morning, and seeing the day, was a struggle. I had a degree and a job with some wonderful people, yet I was still unhappy. I saw nowhere for my feelings to go, constantly floored by a sense of loss and intense self loathing. I didn't treat myself well, because I didn't want to be myself.  photo 10thaugust3_zps29c4216b.jpg

It got to the point where enough was enough. Something just clicked - that I couldn't go on treating myself like I did, telling myself that I was stupid, useless, socially awkward, ugly, misshapen etc. Frankly, I decided to grab life by the er, balls and do something about it. I understand how hard it is to get out of the slump, believe me, but for me personally, I have to get to a point where I am so low, that my only option is to pull myself out again.

I took steps to look after myself health wise. After a few weeks, I started to feel significantly more motivated, alongside this, I made plans to see friends, to go for coffee with people I hadn't seen for a while, to meet new people. I started to meditate, repeat positive affirmations, write lists of everything I wanted to do in my life. These things all put me on the path to where I am today, which incidentally, is a much better place.

I want to highlight the importance of accepting myself, and even loving myself, in the wider scheme of becoming a happier person. In the past I had always scorned those 'new agey, arty farty, aspirational' schools of thought. As a result, it's made me a cynical person. But in my journey of embracing new things, new ideas, and general happiness, self love has been a big ol' part of it. I just wanted to share a few thoughts with people who look down at their body and hate every bit, with people who look at their art and curse their ineptitude, with people who never feel like they have the confidence to go out and get what they want:

If you tell people that you're terrible, what choice will they have but to believe you?

Again, I'd like to refer to my deeply wise pal Maire and something she once said to me (she gives off some serious Dalai Lama vibes on a regular basis): If you apologise for everything and tell people that you're rubbish, they're going to associate negativity with you, and if they don't know you that well, they might even believe you. You don't have to go round singing your own praises, but giving off an air of confidence, self assertion, and cutting the negativity will attract people to you and attract yourself to um, yourself. For instance, if someone compliments you, instead of going 'nah, I don't agree, I look terrible', thank them, and feel awesome about the fact that somebody thinks you're great.

Reflect on and analyse yourself, but in a good way

This is really just personal preference, but I love writing down my intentions, dreams etc. My student mentor once told me to write down all the positives in my life, and there were a lot. I have really fantastic, supportive close friends, I live in an amazing city, I've had the opportunity to have a brilliant education, I could go on. I'd suggest you go and do that too, alongside writing down everything that you want from yourself and life, and thinking practically about ways to make that happen. Take at least 10 minutes out of every day to reflect on how you felt about yourself that day.

When you've gone and done something great for yourself, reward yourself.

After university finished, I made myself a promise that every day I would do something that scared me. That was particularly important for me, as I realised that I was pretty scared of a whole lot of things. It's important to push yourself, but also to give yourself time to do the things you enjoy. My blogging pal Sarah wrote an amazing listed blog post about all the things you can do to encourage self love, and I'd really encourage you to go and read that. My own personal ones are making music playlists, having baths, and writing blog posts, funnily enough! I also eat a lot of chocolate but let's not talk about that.

When you feel good about yourself, that's when things can get better. 

'I'll be more confident, when I lost weight.' 'I'll ask that person out, when my skin gets better' 'I'll start writing, when I've read 20,000 more books' - we've all said similar things to ourselves, I'm guessing. I always said that one day I would be happy, when things improve. Then I realised that things would start to improve when I took on a more positive demeanour and actually saw the good side to myself, and guess what? They did! The truth is, that you should be enough, not an exterior thing that you want. Things don't necessarily have to change for you to see them in a different light. Stop giving yourself time frames and accept that when you start to properly, truly like yourself, then that's most of the work done for you. Crazy, I know.

I really hope this can be of help to some people in its own rambly, jumbled way. I'd really love to hear more about your own personal experiences of self love or self esteem issues if you're willing to share.

Resources that helped me:
Connor Manning's videos often focus on advice, and he's a really enthusiastic, inspiring guy.
Laila, one of the happiest people I know, wrote a post about perking yourself up.
Mike Falzone is insanely wise and when he tells you home truths, it makes you feel like they've been obvious all along.
Sarah's blog more generally encourages self love and being good to yourself, and it's awesome.
Zoe London has written some really excellent posts on topics of confidence, self love etc. This particular one about 'becoming more positive' really inspired me.
My best friend Lucy made this video about confidence, and she's amazing, so yeah, go watch that.

Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Fur Coats and Fellow Bloggers

It's a rare joy when I am able to rope someone in to take some proper, scenic London outfit photos for Rags. This Sunday, I was able to have such a joy when I met up with Laila, who after having known each other for ages on the blogosphere has become a firm friend irl. As well as this, I was finally able to meet Jess, who writes the blog Jessthetics (as well as running her own beautiful online shop, including her own crafted clothes as well as selected thrifted pieces, which you all need to go and check out). Alongside wiling away hours chatting about everything from university to camera recommendations in coffee shops (which included basically scheduling Laila's entire blog content calendar for the next few months, so Laila, I'm waiting with bated breath for those inspirational posts), we also scouted out for what Jess referred to as 'blogger streets', which if you don't know, is a street with such blogger favourites as large white houses, pillars, and lamp posts. We found this one in South Kensington, and took outfit photos for each other (apart from Laila who mostly refused because she thought she was dressed like she was waiting tables). Thanks so much to the gorgeous Jess for taking these snaps of me!
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Coat - Topshop (from last season)
Shirt - Charity Shop
Skirt - Boohoo
Shoes - H&M

You know what's funny? I really used to hate lime green. Then this coat made its way into my life. If you look closely you can see that it's fluffy, so fluffy that Jess and I struggled to take any detail shots of it as Laila was too busy stroking it. I like it because the colour and texture appears as mildly eccentric against the rather sophisticated, manly cut of the coat. I paired it with a paisley shirt in a sort of mustardy yellow colour, which alongside the coat was an odd combination that made me look like an bizarrely dressed rich lady of high society. I imagine it's something Virginia Woolf might have worn, which made this Penguin classics bag the perfect accompaniment to the outfit. I picked it up in Waterstones and it has barely been off my arm since. I've even read a Room of One's Own, which is obviously an advantage in case people question me about it. I actually did an entire module on V. Woolf at university so she is certainly one of my sad literary lady home girls.
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Bag - Waterstones
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The bloggers together! 
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I really wish I'd taken some other photos of Jess's outfit, she looked absolutely amazing (as did Laila of course, but you know, I've seen her before, so I'm used to it). Her long coat was from a vintage shop and she certainly cut a striking figure whilst we were walking around! I really couldn't recommend her blog enough as she's so creative with her styling.
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Laila looking super cute! 

Laila refers to herself as a crap blogger, but honestly? She isn't. She's done so many interesting cultural posts, but I'd say my favourites from her are her lifestyle ones, where she talks about her veganism as well as topics such as being happy and confidence, something she has tons of. Every time I hang out with Laila I come away from it feeling happy and positive, she's a truly infectious person to be around (and I don't mean in terms of illness).

It was so great to be able to meet up with people I had previously only known from the interwebs. Laila and I agreed on the tube home that it's probably the main plus point of blogging. It's really expanded my horizons and allowed me to meet lovely, inspiring ladies such as these two, so I'm very thankful for it. Did I do enough gushing for you in this post? Cool, okay, goodbye now!
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram


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