Monday, 30 June 2014

Yellow.

Something that might strike you as odd if you know me in person or you're a regular blog reader, is that I used to hate the colour yellow. I'm naturally dark haired and I always felt that it didn't quite match up with my skin tone. Recently, I have absolutely embraced it. It seems simplistic to subscribe to that idea that dressing in bright colours actually improves your mood, but I have to say, it often works for me! And that is why you're being 'treated' to a sunflowery look today... photo 6b0b1483-ed69-4c87-97e4-81ca9a9f02c8_zps1b27d3d2.jpg
This floral dress was kindly sent to me by House of Fraser, and I absolutely love the intricate floral print. It is probably the ultimate tea dress, and thankfully, long enough so I don't have to wear shorts under it (a problem shared by tall girls across the globe). I dressed it down here for an outfit that I would actually, shockingly, wear outside of my back garden, which is more than you can say for most of my outfit posts.
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Dress - C/O House of Fraser
Hat - H&M
Shoes - Converse
Bag - Kanken via Olive (sold out in yellow but available in purple and black)!

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Another thing I love about yellow is the way it goes with red, which may sound just a little bit Ronald McDonald, but I absolutely love the contrast and hopefully it doesn't look too clown like. Alongside my yellow beanie I wore my Mac 'Lady Danger' lipstick, which really is the perfect red. I promise you, I've actually found it, after years of searching! Also, this is the proper debut of my new backpack. Kankens seem to be the rucksack of choice now, as they come in an array of colours and are particularly useful for laptop users! Mine has been an absolute godsend and a wise investment for when I'm going away for the weekend or need to lug my laptop around.

What colours make you happy?
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Inspiration Hour: How to be a #GirlBoss

'If you're one of the 60,000 girls on I added on Myspace back then, I'm sorry. Nasty Gal Vintage was run by a workaholic mutant dressed as the Easter Bunny.'  - Sophia Amoruso

I have always been a strong advocate of 'self help' books. I know exactly why this is, on one hand they can be the encouraging kick up the backside that is sometimes needed when one is feeling like they are getting stuck in a routine and a lull, yet on the other, I feel that sometimes I look to this form of literature as a quick fix to all my ailments. Sometimes I'll read one, such as Susan Jeffers 'Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway' and Dale Carnegie's 'How to Make Friends and Influence People', put the book down and think: 'well that's great, but now what?' photo 647909be-5fb2-4229-b2e0-fd0ead945f3a_zpscd5d059f.jpg
This is why I was super excited to read about Nasty Gal entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso's new book #Girlboss. I've never actually shopped at Nasty Gal as it is an American company and the customs charges would be eyewatering, but this did not put me off. A book unashamedly targeted at the digital age, it promised a more relevant approach for young women who are looking to start their careers, and offered practical life advice, wryly commenting on the 'get what you want' quick fixes of old such as cosmic ordering (which is akin to bookmarking items in the Argos catalogue and leaving them in an obvious place for God to find).

I also feel that Girlboss is a particularly relevant term at the moment. In America, a campaign is going on to ban the word 'Bossy' when describing high up women in the workplace. Whilst male CEO's and workers are often described as confident and assertive, many people struggle to tell the difference between a female CEO telling you to finish that report and their 'naggy' wives telling them to put up some shelves. And that ain't right.

Sophia is clearly a woman who has climbed her way to the top. She expresses how she did not have a private education and worked many dull jobs before she started up an ebay business that would one day turn into a fully fledged shop with a turnover of $100 million. I found her approach exceedingly refreshing, a totally no nonsense attitude as she explains frankly how anybody can make it to the top, if they want it enough and are willing to put the hours in.
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Cutting to the chase, this book really did make a positive impact on me. I personally have never had a real drive to make lots of money or become a high flying businesswoman, but Sophia accounts for those people too who just want to find the job that is right for them. She shows that you won't always get it right first time, that you might not fall into your dream job, and occasionally stumble along the way. She talks about the power of magical thoughts, and how we should not waste our time on negativity, as this breeds yet more negativity.

Being able to understand the motivations of a young businesswoman working in fashion makes it easier for young women to realise that nothing is out of their reach. It overrides that dichotomy of having a dream but feeling that it is inaccessible because of birth circumstances or lack of motivation, because for Sophia, she went from creating an ebay account to 'making $150,000 over lunch' in 7 years. It's inspired me, in my uncertainty as to what I actually really want from life, to move forward and make positive steps, to get out of bed in the morning and carpe diem. Sophia's writing style is honest but firm, reminding us that  in the workplace we are not special little snowflakes, reminding introverts that they should not feel like the work environment is not for them (particularly relevant to me) and that we should pursue what we feel is right for us, because life is too short to constantly work in jobs you dislike and spent endless amounts of time thinking about those who've done you wrong.

Life ultimately, is self invention, and centres around what we ourselves choose to create. Amoruso gets that, and along with a selection of testimonials from other Girlbosses and gorgeous fashion illustrations, she brings a new form of self help to the modern age.

#GirlBoss is avaliable in the UK on Amazon.

Have you read Girlboss and if so what did you think? What are your career aspirations?

Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Friday, 13 June 2014

Strange Clothing

'There is no exquisite beauty...without some strangeness in the proportion.' Edgar Allan Poe

I like it when a clothing brand does exactly what it says on the tin, or the label in this case. When I was contacted by Patrick at Strange Clothing Co, I was taken by the name's simplicity, as well as being excited to see an Oxford based company making such incredible pieces. Seriously, they really are good. The illustrations are bold and completely on point, depicting skulls, rams, octopuses and roaring bears, all with a sort of almost victorian feel of sensationalism ('behold the octopod, deadly spider of the sea!' adorns one particular t-shirt). What is particularly great about Patrick's creations is that he has clearly put so much work into each piece, making it damn near impossible to replicate on the high street. I was excited by the prospect of being able to style up these pieces, so I've included two of my favourite items of clothing, and I only hope I've been able to do them justice!
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Leggings - C/O Strange Clothing Co 
Top - Primark
Sheer cardigan - H&M
Shoes - Asos

These skull print leggings are seriously eye catching. Though they might be considered more suitable for day wear, I thought I'd go for an evening look to create a sort of 'creature of the night' style chic. I paired them with my velvet heels from Asos and my sheer long cardigan from H&M, that first made an appearance in my 'bitchcraft' post. The sophisticated goth soiree look is for always.

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Bear t-shirt - C/O Strange Clothing Co
Disco Pants - AA via charity shop
Shoes - Hunter via TK Maxx
Bag - Zatchels

When I saw this downright AMAZING bear t-shirt on the website I instantly fell in love, it's undoubtedly my favourite of Patrick's designs, and it's apparently been flying off the shelves after everyone and their mum have started wearing it (have a look at their instagram to see some other snaps of it). I paired my top with my trusty disco pants and a leather jacket, because despite hesitating to use the phrase 'statement piece' - well, this really is. In fact, I'd say all the Strange Clothing pieces are.

Thanks so much to Patrick for sending over these clothes, I had a lot of fun styling them! If you want to have a gander at Strange Clothing's shop, you can do so here. The clothes really are completely unique and they're certainly not exaggerating about the 'strange' part!

Which is your favourite item, the bear shirt or the skull leggings?
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Oxford Eats: Georgina's Coffee Shop

The main rule of thumb on this blog is that I don't do food reviews. Yes, I can definitely eat it in plentiful supply, but ask me to tell you the different between asparagus and avocado and I'm completely lost. Don't even get me started on trying to pronounce 'quinoa'. I mean come on, it's quee-no-ah right?

But there's some places that I think deserve some more attention. I've very briefly shared this gem before in my Oxford at Christmas post, tucked up a secluded yet simultaneously hard to miss set of pink stairs in Oxford's famous Covered Market (which has recently been in trouble due to extortionate rent increases, shame on you Oxford council). A few weeks ago whilst visiting home I decided to go again with mum in tow. After climbing the day glo pink stairs you're greeted with an equally pink room plastered with movie and film posters, I have to say, it's probably the most jolly looking place you'll ever see - it makes the Breakfast Club look like your local Starbucks. And you'll be pleased to hear it's not simply style (though it's got a lot of that) over substance - the food is completely delicious as well.
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When you've got over how damn lovely the place is to look at, it's time for the food/drink, and I have to say that I'm really impressed with the selection. Though a small food menu, it's generally got something to suit a range of tastes, and it's particularly good if you're a veggie and struggle to find places that do more than one veggie option. I took my mum along (who is very camera shy, which explains the lack of my usual selfies) and whilst she picked the soup, I plumped for the roasted veggie wrap. I'd had the chilli one before but being extremely white I found it just a little bit hot, but the roasted vegetable one was just perfect for me, in fact it was so delicious I am currently mentally reliving the experience as I write this. It came with two different sauces and a salad which were super complimentary. Mum spoke highly of her tomato soup as well. I've heard some Oxford locals complain that Georgina's is a little bit expensive, but I have to say I can't really understand that (maybe because I'm conditioned to London prices), most of the main meals range from £5 to £7, and I'd say that the drinks aren't necessarily cheap but still entirely reasonable (I've yet to try one of their famous milkshakes but they look amazing)!

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I just love everything about the place, from the atmosphere, the pleasant staff, the decoration, the endless conversation topics encouraged by the movie posters and magazines splashed everywhere, oh and the amazing food of course. If you're hoping to visit Georgina's I'd recommend not going during the Oxford food rush hour (it's a thing...which I've just made up) of say, Saturday lunchtime, as the place is slightly squeezed for space. But if you don't mind cozying up with fellow tourists and locals, I honestly couldn't recommend this place highly enough.

This post was done in collaboration with Goodmans for an Oxford guide curated by Oxford Business Park.  Thanks to them for letting me re explore one of my favourite places (and do what I should have done for the last 18 years and finally take mum out to lunch).
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

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