Hello everyone and happy Sunday! This week has been a bit of a hectic one, but also felt a little like the longest week ever. With lots of grown up things taking shape (will certainly update you all soon) and a whistle-stop trip to Paris (we arrived at 1pm and were home by 9)- it's all felt a little bit fleeting and frantic- whilst also being incredibly exciting at the same time. I'm also well underway with my new design progress and am so excited to share things (and maybe ask for some handy volunteers to site test when the time is nearer too)! I hope you've all had a wonderful week- and here's to the next being full of sunshine!

This weeks reading to get your teeth in to...

(Chloe, Lorde, Carrie & Anna & Lily)

The Must-Reads:
A couple of posts that tickled my fancy this week began with a piece The Debrief published on '5 Inspiring Women On What Scares Them'. Not only was it wonderful reading about the careers of some new (and extremely talented) women, but learning how they've dealt with their career struggles, biggest fears and overcome them along the way made for a hugely inspiring piece indeed. Another I loved was Chloe's post about fancy holidays- which definitely struck a chord with me! It's definitely something interconnected with the ol' comparison bug, but it felt like a little tiny-violin-free reminder that you don't have to do anything to prove yourself in this industry (or any others, in fact). Finally! This piece by Rolling Stone on the amazing Lorde was also a fantastic longer read. Ain't she the bloody best?

The Podcast:
You know how passionately I feel about the podcast, and this week there have been two that I have been head-over-heels for. The first being Lily and Anna's 'At Home With...' Series. I began this on the train to Devon a couple of weeks ago for their first episode with Jo Elvin, and equally adored this weeks with the gorgeous Kate Johnson too. The pair have such a natural, warm interviewing style and it's such a pleasure to listen to during the daily grind.

Another listen I loved this week was Briony Gordon's chat with one of my favourite foodies, Gizzi Erskine. Hearing Gizzi speak so candidly about ADHD and other mental health issues was truly refreshing- and Briony's 'Mad World' podcasts are undoubtedly some of my absolute favourites.

The Website Love:
I'm sure you're all more than familiar with my friend Carrie and her beautiful blog WishWishWish by now- and this week it turned the ripe old age of 9! I absolutely loved Carrie's roundup through the years, and it definitely bought back some flash-backs from one dedicated reader over here (and made me realise how far blogging has truly come too)! HBD WWW!

The Video:
Ugh, as if I couldn't love Alexa any more. Just watch and see.

Objects of desire:



x


Three words I'd normally use to describe my personal style include, 'girlie', 'feminine' and 'timeless' (y'know, if I do say so myself) with another three including 'girl group wannabe'- because who doesn't want two pieces and mini's like The Ronettes, or co-ords and sequins a la Baby Spice...

Regardless of those things, and the connotations words like 'girlie' or 'feminine' bring to mind, one thing I will always say about my style is that I am a trainer person through and through. Perhaps it's years of being told to 'look after my feet' by my wonderful nan (especially during my brief stint at uni when going 'out out' for me meant brogues over heels)- but there's something wonderful about finding style in comfort, and knowing that something more casual can completely transform something from twee and ladylike- to a little bit more relaxed and classic (look at Farah Fawcett or a certain Ms. Chung for further proof)...

Which is where Gola come in. Having been a long time lover of the brand and their heritage (I'll thank Papa P for that), and the fact they balance retro and modern styling so well- I was extremely excited to style up a couple of their new season offerings with some of my wardrobe favourites, all whilst traipsing around some of my favourite London haunts- not bad for a mid-week pick me up! So without further ado, let me introduce you to a couple of my significant others in the footwear department...



With the Tennis Mark Cox being my go-to of late (it's amazing they've stayed so white, let's just say that)- I've loved pairing them with everything from floaty midi's, biker jackets and cut offs to a simple pale denim and bomber jacket look- and know they'd look equally cool dressing down a suited co-ord for something completely juxtaposed and wonderful. Put it this way- they're the 'I woke up like this' shoe for the ultimate in just rolled out of bed effortless kudos (and even coordinated with my favourite brekkie location of Palm Vaults too)!

My other favourite pick goes to the Specialist trainer in sky blue, which we took for a spin along one of my favourite streets in London- Redchurch Street. There's something incredibly vintage looking with coloured suede, and I love how amazing primary colours look popping next to a simple black outfit- and even cooler with some kick flares and a slogan tee. There's a handful of tea dresses that are waiting to be partnered with these bad boys- and as soon as it warms up, you can bet that's pretty much all you'll be seeing around here...

And if that wasn't enough to satisfy you're sartorial taste buds, I've also done a wee video with Gola here, chatting all things blogging, inspiration and London- so have a nosey at that too if you fancy!

x

Post in collaboration with Gola, but love of their trainers comfort and attempting to be cool all very much my own



Under my bed, amongst the make up, tax returns, video tapes and wires that I’m certain have a function- lie stacks of NME Magazines. Most are in boxes, with a handful spilling over and gathering dust. It’s been a while since I’ve fingered through them, and although I’m not sure when I’ll next be dipping in to see who won the NME Awards in 2008, or to hear about Simon and Lovefoxx’s nu-rave-relationship (ah, hazy days)- I simply can’t bare to part with them. After doing several weeks of work experience at the magazine- with editors Conor McNicholas and Krissi Murrison- the publication holds a special place in my heart. One piece in particular I used to love was their Soundtrack of my life feature- where artists would talk about their most treasured and sentimental listens, and the records that they feel shaped them in some way- beautiful, huh?

I hadn’t thought about it for a while, and after reading my friend Lauren’s post felt inspired to give it a go myself. Perhaps it’s a little self-centered, but I definitely took a deep satisfaction in taking a slow jaunt down memory lane- albeit by way of Spotify (which definitely acts as a handy reminder when playlists from 2010 are involved). So, without further ado, the soundtrack of my life (so far)…



My First Album: Steps - Step One
This one is a little fuzzy for me, but one thing I do remember was my unadulterated love for buying singles in Woolworths and albums in Virgin Megastores. I loved seeing the charts and following along (whilst taping it from Capital FM)- and two of my earliest purchases go to Blue and Atomic Kitten (the later line up, in case you were wondering). One album that I do remember listening to most from the onset was definitely Steps Step One, and I’m pretty sure their later hit Stomp still remains one of my most played tracks over the years… Cool, I know.

Long Term Relationship Album: Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
There are so many albums that I listen to again and again, but one album that sums up my literal long term relationship (avec Joe) would probably be Sufjan Stevens’s Illinois. When Joe and I were doing long distance a few years ago, with Joe in Nottingham, I remember him willing me to listen to this on my train home, so it became the sleepy soundtrack to many London Midland services.



Song That Makes Me Happy: Ride A White Swan - T.Rex
Choosing a song that makes me happy is a bit like trying to pick a favourite child (or pet, or TV show). One song that I kept hearing on a Friday on a heart radio playlist recently (cough, nana, cough) is KC and the Sunshine Band- which is now very much my Friday song. One favourite though is definitely Ride a White Swan by T.Rex as it reminds me of car journeys to Hastings with my dad and Joe (and makes me feel like I can take on anything). I also love Funny Little Frog by Belle and Sebastian and O-o-h Child by The Five Stairsteps. My friend Sarah made me an amazing crème de la crème playlist when I was feeling down recently and it’s got some amazing tunes on it.

Song/Album That Makes Me Want To Dance: Dirty Dancing/Graceland
It doesn’t take a lot to make me want to cut some shapes (which I’m sure anyone could vouch for) but you can guarantee I’ll put out my best Swayze if you pop on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack with Hungry Eyes for preference. I'm also partial to a bit of Graceland by Paul Simon too- if I'm pushing the boat out.



First Gig: Steps, Steptacular
This was never going to be my coolest answer, but it was possibly steps at Wembley- deely boppers and all. I also saw Busted play Hammsersmith Apollo (pre-arena days folks) and my first festival was Electric Gardens in Faversham when I was obsessed with Patrick Wolf and Late of the Pier in 2007. I also adored going to Underage Festival in Victoria Park, which was probably one of the first times I felt like a ~proper grown up~ going to a festival on my own and it acted as such an amaing inclusive space for music and cool acts too.

Song I Wish I'd Written: A.K.A The Toughie
Although I’d love to say something by Regina Spector (maybe Samson)- I’m pretty obsessed with every Last Shadow Puppets song (total copy from Lauren, but she's bloody right here). The Age Of The Understatement has this incredible cinematic feel and just manages to tell the most beautiful stories- and never ever gets old. Loser Liv actually quoted one of their lyrics in one of her final a level exam essays- and got an A. Thanks Turner and Kane. I also adore Neighbourhood #1 Tunnels by Arcade Fire, and the line 'And if my parents are crying, then I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours'- which is one of the most beautiful lyrics and reminds me of a pretty significant part of my life too.

Song That Reminds Me Of Being A Teen: Sorry You're Not A Winner
Oh my god THIS QUESTION. I had about 15 different musical phases when I was a teen- going from punk pop, emo, screamo and metal to nu rave and indie. One of the most stand out songs is probably something like Sorry You’re Not A Winner by Enter Shikari (or anything from Panic! At The Disco’s first album). I used to go to loads of local underage gigs and they'd constantly play this and Violent Pornography by System of a Down and I just remember it feeling like the biggest anthem ever. I also went on to become slightly embarssingly obsessed with MGMT, and still stand by their second album being one of the most underrated of all time. Big words, but give it a listen.

Sweatiest Gig: Hellogoobye/NME Awards
I remember going to a Hellogoodbye gig years ago with my best friend Gemma (and my dad, naturally) and it being So. Damn. Hot. Maybe it was just 2007 as a year in general (sweaty weather, music, gigs)- but going to the NME Awards tours were always super sweaty if you wanted to get involved (read: stand)- especially being in venues like the Astroria (R.I.P) where you could barely swing a cat.

Karaoke Song: Here Comes Your Man (and, ahem, Superbass)
Because I think I’m Tom Hansen from 500 Days of Summer I love a good ol’ Pixies rendition of Here Comes Your Man (or Talking Heads)- but have a secret talent (if that’s what you’d call it) or being able to whip out a Nicki Minhaj song or two. Last week I pulled out Super Bass to an unsuspecting audience and I think I surprised a few people (LOL).



Best Gig: Arcade Fire, Reading, 2010
One of my most standout gigs is probably seeing Arcade Fire in 2010 at Reading when The Subrubs was released (there's the link so you can experience it too). It was the last act of the evening and just after a set by The Libertines (also amazing), so lots of people left meaning we could wiggle nearer centre stage. Being amongst such an enthusiastic and excited crowd who knew every word is unbeatable and that whole album is truly magical to me- so seeing it live with the amazing visuals and atmosphere was incredible. Also seeing Wake Up/Rebellion live is always an experience, and I may have shed a tear or two (or three, or four).

Songs That Remind Me Of Home: David Bowie, Kooks
I’ve always grown up in a pretty musical household. My mum is bit of an eighties loving babe (give her Simon Le Bon any day of the week) and my dad was definitely the first person to play me Bob Dylan and Bowie (even when I’d have rather been listening to Busted). I always remember hearing Bowie’s Kooks and my dad always said it was like him and my mum when I was at school- 'cause we believe in you, soon you'll grow, so take a chance with a couple of kooks'. My dad also used to have a Tony Ferrino tape (a niche reference if anyone ever saw one) in his car which we'd have on the way to school every now and again. That definitely got my Coogan love started at a young age...



Least Favourite Song: Mad World
There aren’t many songs I don’t like, but there’s something about Mad World which I just don’t get. It just feels really bleak...

Ultimate Desert Island Disc: HELP
Although one of my favourite ever bands are Artic Monkeys and my favourite album is Suck It And See, I’d probably want something with a little more variety if I was stuck on a desert island (plus I probably wouldn't want to ruin it for myself down to serious overplaying). Perhaps Rumours? Hmm. Or even a good film soundtrack- I’m a compilation girl through and through so perhaps a Now! Album so I wasn’t too limited. THIS IS SO HARD.

I'll get back to you on that.

I'd also love to hear any of your favourite ever records and the songs that have shaped you too, this was so much fun to put together so I'd love to know if you do it too!

x

hump day
noun informal
Wednesday, regarded as the midpoint of a typical working week.
"it's hump day and perhaps the toughest day of the week for you"

With Google confirming all of my suspicions about the true meaning of 'hump day' (I definitely need to update myself on modern phrases)- it feels more than appropriate to celebrate the middle of the week (after a long weekend) with a post all about pampering. Lately I've learnt the charm of switching off early- and with a little chat to some lovely people across Twitter and Instagram, learnt about the ways you all love switching off too (in case I've missed anything here)! So, trust me when I say that running a bath, keeping laptop time to daylight hours, treating yourself to something delicious and unwinding at the end of the day can make a world of difference.

So, slippers on and hair up- here is my rundown of the perfect hump-day pamper evening!



Step 1: Ambience
I like to think of solo pamper evenings as a 'date to myself'- dedicated me time that's a little bit self indulgent, makes me feel good and without having to foot the bill either. Pick out your favourite candle (this one from SOH Melbourne is currently number one), let it fill the room and dim the lights (or keen 'em on if you want to paint your nails). Whenever I've had a stressful day Joe will run a bath, switch off the lights and pop a few candles on- it's simple, but effective and is almost a guaranteed way of switching on the zen.



Step 2: Gather your materials!
It's not for everyone, but my goodness does getting in to a book chill me out. I've recently acquired a few favourites, which don't require an age to get stuck in to- and make for a perfect late afternoon pick me up, or early evening wind down treat. Plus, after checking phone apps like Moment (which track how long I spend on my phone daily)- I've realised how many pages I could truly tackle if I didn't have the spontaneous Instagram scrolls- and these are a handful of the reads I've been loving...

Inside Vogue, How To Be A Grown Up, Ctrl Alt Del, Bloom, Ice Cream For Breakfast, Sweetbitter, The Curated Closet, Violet Magazine, Sunday Girl Magazine

Note: Switching off is great (and largely necessary) but for a lot of people some deserved scroll-time is a way of unwinding- so if you fancy a blog read, Insta-Story viewing session or a check up of ASOS new in, don't deny yourself and feel guilty!



Step 3: Treat yourself...
What's a pamper evening without something deliciously indulgent to eat? I am a serious ice cream fiend (give me desert over starters any day of the week), so hearing about Magnum Tubs was incredibly exciting for yours truly. Acting like a giant Magnum in a tub (i.e a thick chocolate shell and lashings of creamy vanilla ice cream with more chocolate shards inside through the ice cream)- it's a total dream to get stuck in to and the perfect partner for your favourite box set. Coming in three delicious flavours (that's almond, white and classic)- it certainly makes solo Bridget Jones moments feel all the more glamorous too. One spoon only, please!

Step 4: Make it a movie
Ice cream in hand, candles lit- it's time to pick some viewing! Whether you get lost on YouTube, start a new series or turn to an oldie (but goodie)- I've listed a few of my favourite go-to picks for an evening in that fit my easy-watching criteria no matter what (and the things I could watch again and again and again).

The must-watch series...
Line of Duty, Stranger Things, LOVE, Peter Kay's Car Share, Gilmore Girls (always), The Crown, Parks & Rec, Friends

Undisturbed film time...
Pretty Woman, Notting Hill, Angus Thongs & Perfect Snogging, Dirty Dancing (you see a theme here?), Bridget Jones' Baby (how could I not?), Me Before You (if you don't mind the tears), Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Knocked Up



Step 5: You, You, You
One of the best parts of any pamper evening is running a big ol' bubble bath (or warm steamy shower)- hopping in, having a soak and using your favourite face mask. Prep some clean PJs, line up some nail polish for afterwards and dive in. At the moment I've been loving anything charcoal, clay or mud based (anything that deep cleans and offers tingles gets a thumbs up from me)- so taking ten minutes to really pamper is wonderful, and trust me when I say long showers and baths are the home of great ideas too!

x

Post in collaboration with Magnum, but love of ice cream, treating myself and relaxing all my own- trust me.
(Top: ASOS (and similar here), Jeans: & Other Stories, Earrings: Mango (similar here), Shoes: New Look (old but similar here)

When it comes to getting dressed up for an evening out, it's something I often struggle with. I'm going to hazard a guess and say this is because come 7pm I'm normally either;
a) soaking in the bath until it gets cold
b) busy thinking about what to eat for dinner and then running a bath
or c) already in my pyjamas gearing up for Masterchef.

I know, it's a wild life I lead- but trust me when I say I do enjoy the dressing up process when it rolls around and although I'm certainly inexperienced and a little out of practise, it feels good putting on something I feel wonderful in (even if yes, jeans are part of the equation).

Anyway- I recently picked up this top whilst browsing ASOS and although it was the gingham I fell victim to, it also reminded me largely of an Isa Arfen top I'd been seeing everywhere- and at a cut of the price, felt like a perfect high street alternative to something I'd been thinking about for a while. On top of that, I'd recently picked up what my dad likes to call my 'sofa earrings' from Mango, and pairing them together felt like a fitting tribute to the more is more trend (without going overboard, y'know?) Although things weren't so subtle for footwear either, I know that this'll also look awesome paired with some trainers for day time, and already have my Vans lined up and waiting. Perhaps I could get used to this going out malarky after all?



x

MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 23 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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