Baby you can drive my car!

I passed my test for the second time sans tears and with four minors in December, and after seeing a few people ask about a potential post or video- I thought I'd put all my driving feels into one place in case any of you were thinking of taking the plunge too! After not being fussed about cruising around in a Corsa at 17, it finally dawned on me after my 20 year old brother passed that I should probably dig out the L plates and put the foot to the pedal, or whatever that saying is. I was going to finally attempt at being a useful road tripping adult who can go to grown up places like the Cotswolds and run to Sainsbury's when ones need for a late night snack is nothing short of essential. Right?

Anyway- I thought I'd list down the things I've learnt- but if anyone has any tips they'd specifically like, let me know and I'll get back to you (like I'm some kind of total expert driver now, lol)...

Yup, it's scary...
I'm the kind of person who has dreams about not being able to stop a car, and after stalling at nearly every set of traffic lights the night before my first test I think I'm a bit of a warranted worrier. The thought of anyone going for a drive to 'relax' or 'calm down' still totally baffles me, but since passing it does feel liberating having the freedom to drive- and I'm slightly less of a nervous Purvis.

Failing isn't fun- but it's not the end of the world...
Failing your test will only be down to one thing that's probably 'never happened before' and it will drive you mad. Reassuringly all of my friends told me 'the best drivers fail first time' and that definitely got me through. The second my examiner Graham went for the wheel as I nearly mounted the curb I felt a wash of knowing failure come over me and continued to stall all the way until the end. Saying that, it did prepare me well for my second test and I had a clear idea about what to expect, and that genuinely it isn't really that bad.

It will feel like everyone is 17...
You'll take your theory test and nearly everyone will be taking the morning out of general studies classes to be there. Suddenly at 23 you may feel as if you're a test short of two knitting needles and a box of Werther's Originals but you aren't the only one. My mum didn't learn until her thirties so it's never too late.

Money, money, money...
Learning to drive isn't cheap and you may well wonder how anyone managed to afford lessons at 17, but if you budget them in weekly it can be digestible. Just try to keep things consistent and make sure to pack in as much practise in between lessons as possible to make things worthwhile (something I wish I'd put into practise more).

The theory test isn't as easy as people say...
It took me two tries to pass my theory, and it really was third time lucky. Although there are amazing apps for the question part so that you can revise them back to front, it was the hazard perception I kept slipping up on. I was so worried about clicking too much, or not clicking enough that I just ended up mucking up- but I got there! Spend a bit of pocket money on the online practises and I promise you will get there too.

Sometimes intensive is best...
After spending nearly a year and a half learning, as well as taking my test- my instructor then gave up teaching. Although I'm sure I wasn't that bad a pupil, it left me at a bit of a loss with how to pick it up again after failing my test for the first time. So, after much deliberation I took a three day intensive course and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to tackle things quickly. I know it is expensive, but considering how much I ended up spending on lessons it probably would have been cheaper just doing an intense course, so don't rule it out.

You will get there...
I know everyone says this- but if a nervous Purvis like me can do it, anyone can. I mean it- go and get 'em (just remember not to rush biting point).


Learning To Drive In Your '20s

'the fact you're thinking about it is the start of a positive change' - unknown wise proverbial Twitter user inflating my ego one tweet at a time

Earlier this week, as I sat watching The Undateables in my blissfully unaware Monday night state (dressing gown, Quality Street and a middle-of-the-month chin spot appearing), I spotted a tweet from Callie talking about Dispatches. It had just been shown on Channel 4 and was discussing ‘Britain’s Cheap Clothes’- something I hadn’t seen advertised but was keen to catch up on after beginning a chat with her and Hannah about the ethics of fast fashion, consumerism and feeling guilty being part of an industry that flourishes from it.

I mean, let’s make it clear- as part of my ~job spec~ I promote clothes. Perhaps as a fashion blogger I’m in no position to talk about this, but this isn’t a blog post about being someone who is ‘doing it right’ or telling another how to live (I know how it feels to be spoken to as if I’m ‘the bad guy’ and feeling on the defensive is never fun). I know I am part of an issue, and an industry that can promote excessive consumerism. It will always feel strange writing a post about the ethics of fashion that will inevitably be sandwiched between two outfit posts and a video about clothes (even if the sole purpose of the post is inspiration over shopping)- and I know I’m in no position to preach without feeling on the edge of hypocrisy. But saying that, if I can never speak out about things like this- when will I ever be able to start? As someone kindly tweeted me, ‘being self aware isn’t always about being hypocritical’ and making a tiny bit of difference is surely better than making none.

And I’ll firstly be honest here: I love clothes. I love beauty- and honestly, I like most things. I love shopping, My god I do. I have a deeply engrained shopping habit and love talking about clothes- a minimalist I am not. COME ON NOW. I do a video series about shopping, and it genuinely excites me talking to people about clothes- old, new, handmade and what have you (have I said shopping enough, or?) When discussing this on Twitter, someone tweeted ‘buying isn’t a crime, but buying en mass constantly is not sustainable’- which did make me feel marginally better and did make me think. Additionally, my friend Michelle, who also writes the blog Daisybutter wrote a post about ‘haul couture’ and the spending associated with writing a blog, and like her- I never want to fall into a mindset, or allow people to think that you have to spend money to create content. Because lets face it, that’s not why I started.

Before writing this, I was introduced to a podcast called ‘The Guilty Feminist’- a podcast in which different topical issues are discussed weekly, with one of the most recent episodes focusing on ethical fashion. The (bloody hilarious) hosts spoke about the mindset of ‘don’t tell me’ and feeling as if buying something for a low price can sometimes feel like a ‘guilty secret’- knowing someone had to suffer to make it. We hear about disasters such as the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, undercover reveals of poor working conditions and unsafe environments and we cannot turn a blind eye. As Pandora Sykes said in her post about sustainability in fashion, ‘can caring become cool?’ Something that brands such as Reformation are trying to tackle by designing, manufacturing and creating better supply chains from their downtown L.A factories (all whilst using dead stock, vintage and sustainable fabrics).

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not trying to be Miss World after writing one post about this topic. Trust me, I know. Yes, it's ~hard~ for me to write a post about something sensitive that I essentially contribute to, but not nearly as hard as it is for someone working tirelessly for £3 an hour for 12 hours days, 7 days a week. 85-90% of sweatshop workers are women, which, in light of the recent women's marches that happened this time last week- mean that these are some of the people we are marching for- and need to be considered into our daily narrative. And that means for everyone. Whether you're working in a factory, behind a till or on the internet.

So let’s start. Whether that’s asking questions to these retailers, buying less and buying better or really digging into these chains to find out that little bit more. I know it’s easier said than done, but I think we can make smaller steps and change and develop a healthier attitude towards buying. It's often hard to speak up about something you don't feel fully informed about (heck that’s why I worry about ever talking about the P (olitics) word) - but starting the discussion, and a conversation with other people with similar thoughts is definitely a step. At least I like to think so anyway.

Some further reading from some seriously inspiring women/places of interest:

Grazia on Ethical Fashion / Emma Watson's favourite ethical fashion brands (including some of my favourites)/Pandora Sykes on ethical fashion / Rosalind's posts here and here (although she has many, all of which are equally fascinating and eloquent)

x .

Sunday Duvet Reading: Let's Talk Consumerism

(Jumper: New Look, Bag: & Other Stories, Belt: ASOS (old but similar here), Jeans: & Other Stories, Boots: C/O & Other Stories (I have BIG love for them ok)

Manchester is a city where I feel like all of the girls have their cool kudos together. The ease to throw on whatever the hell they fancy, strike a pose next to a brick wall tattered with shredded band posters, intricate street art and look straight out of an editorial for an upcoming brand which you’re sure to hear about soon (lookin’ at you Lizzy, Sophia and Megan). Even the credibility to pack their laptop in their bag and set up shop in a cool café, tapping away on articles without questioning ‘how many coffees should I buy before I need to leave?!’ and ‘what do I do if I need to hop up for a wee’ (I told you blogging and freelance life simply oozed glamour)- and I’m sure I haven’t quite mastered the art of it yet.

Coffee shop questions aside, staying in a new city for a few days, and living like a bit of a local has been really fun- and certainly a refreshing way of working. It’s inspiring spending the day nestled amongst working locals, cool girls reading The Bell Jar and watching people discuss possibilities in quick lunchtime meetings. We spent our first evening here on an evening out with friends- catching The Vryll Society (v.v.v. good) at the Deaf Institute and finally trying Yard & Coop- and tonight we’re going out for dinner, and it really feels like a refreshing way of spending a little city break. Although I’ve spent the days cooped up tapping away at emails (usually eating cheese sandwiches) whilst Joe is on shoots- it’s been inspiring fully soaking up somewhere new and chatting to awesome ladies (even if I’ve not quite done as much work as I thought I would)…

P.S Thanks to Joe for capturing angles that make my hair uncharacteristically thick in these pictures. It’s actually as think as a newborns.


Back to Manchester

Let's be honest, beauty moves fast. There are new launches coming out quicker than Clean Bandit singles and keeping up with ~what's hot~ is sometimes a little overwhelming when you've only got one face to try it all out on. But trust me when I say the last couple of months have been a total dream for exciting new products coming out. I'm a creature of habit and it takes a lot for me to ever change anything up, but these bad boys have made the switch totally worth it, so I thought I'd share the love.

The updated classic

I think it's almost a rite of passage that everyone has their No 5 moment. Like it or lump it, I'm pretty sure it's something that everyone has on their dressing table at some point in their lives- and although there's no way I'll ever be able to talk about it as eloquently as the wonderful Sali Hughes does here , she's totally spot on when she says it's the ultimate unflappable, powerful and feminine scent. Obviously, scent is subjective but I must say L'eau De Chanel feels lighter, a little softer and more delicate than it's parent fragrance. It's still floral, slightly citrusy and iconic in its own right, but it feels younger and something both my mum and I have been wearing almost daily. Welcome to the club, L'Eau.

Playground Essentials

Let me tell you, I am a sucker for a novelty product. Give me a cat shaped bag, Eiffel Tower shaped lipstick and you got this girls heart- but give me a fun product that also does a great job- and you've had me at hello. So, when I heard about Clinique's primary inspired launch with Crayola I was almost as excited as hearing about a year 6 own clothes day. Taken from Clinique's iconic Chubby Sticks (and who doesn't love those) and coming in eight beautiful subtle colours (with my favourites being Fuzzy Wuzzy and Melon)- there's just as much style as substance with these, and I'll be making sure their in my January pencil case.

New Kid On The Block

So, let me introduce you to Beauty Pie- the new kid in my make up bag, and one of the most interesting discoveries I've had lately. I've never really considered the huge markup on the beauty products I buy, but after sampling some of the gorgeous selection from Beauty Pie, let me tell you- it's definitely possible to have quality products (not tested on animals and using environmentally friendly inks) without spending a fortune. Their ethos is 'makeup without markup', and by paying a £10 monthly membership fee (which can be a one off, or rolling) you have access to incredible quality without breaking the bank and without 'third-party distribution deals or hitting high-pressure daily sales targets'. Of course you are welcome to purchase products at a regular competitive price (say, £30 for a foundation)- but by signing up you can get the exact same foundation for about £4.75- and all of a sudden membership has paid for itself. With my favourite lipsticks being Cowboy Nude and Red Light (at a hefty £2.24 each)- you can literally sample a handful for under a tenner. Not badio, daddio!

Nouveau Cool

I don't use many palettes when it comes to my daily makeup routine- but the ones I do use are normally YSL (which is possibly the ~fanciest~ thing I've ever said). I've spoken about my love for them in the past, but it was the new launches from their Spring Summer '17 'The Street and I' collection which really made my heart a-flutter. Not only are they aesthetically beautiful from the outside, but the pigmentation and colour selection is beautiful. Although the blush does appear a striking rich coral, it can easily be used sparingly for a beautiful natural wash, as well as the eye palette which is the most gorgeous selection of pinks and reds for a perfect subtle grunge look (which looks amazing with a cat eye flick). Kudos again, YSL. Coming soon.


New In Beauty

(Record player of dreams: Urban Outfitters)

Despite the fact I'm constantly updating my personal Spotify playlists (I'm pretty sure there's one for every mood, season and special occasion)- I hate how long it's been since I last added one of these playlist posts to the blog! I'm always asked questions about my music taste, what I'm listening to and current favourites- so I vow to make these a little more regular for the few people who always take a little interest! I've popped below one I've made for this month- but if you fancy something to lift your January blues, throw you back a decade or two or even some party tunes I'll link those too! This month includes some oldies but goodies (lookin' at you Hall & Oates) and some new loves from Baby Strange, The Vryll Society and of course, La La Land. Enjoy!

1. Lady Gaga & Florence Welch - Hey Girl
2. Daryl Hall & John Oates - Rich Girl
3. First Aid Kit - America
4. She & Him - Unchained Melody
5. Blossoms - Smashed Pianos
6. Baby Strange - California Sun
7. Jagwar Ma - Come Save Me
8. Surfer Blood - Matter Of Time
9. Sundara Karma - Happy Family
10. The Doors - Break On Through
11. Biffy Clyro - Re-arrange
12. Childish Gambino - Redbone
13. The Vryll Society - Coshh
14. The XX - Say Something Loving
15. Arctic Monkeys - Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts
16. La La Land Cast - Another Day Of Sun


The Monthly Playlist: January

(Top: & Other Stories, Jeans: & Other Stories, Bag: Radley, Shoes: Mango)

I know it probably seems that I set aside a lot of time to float around London discovering sweet spots and hid dens gems- but it's very rare I get afternoons just spent getting lost in the city. Okay, so perhaps not lost (never if you use CityMapper as much as yours truly) but solely being able to wander with no time constraints, plans or things to do. After Joe and I headed into London to shoot recently, we ended up with a few spare hours in between our screening of La La Land, and decide to traipse around Notting Hill, one of my favourite pockets in London.

Having worked and commuted to Westbourne Grove around four years ago, the grand side streets and hidden crescents of W11 hold a place dear in my heart. I remember finishing shifts at work to walk back to the tube, nosing through lit French windows and getting a glimpse into another world. It was the perfect escapism during long days in retail, and being able to go back and explore (including gems dotted around Portobello road) is always magical- even more so when an evening screening at The Electric is involved. So, after seeing La La Land, and walking back along a sleepy Portobello Road under a blanket of navy sky dotted with stars- I almost felt like I was in the film myself (minus the dulcet tones of course)...


The Electric

(Scarf: Urban Outfitters, Coat: C/O Jigsaw, Jumper: Sandro, Belt: ASOS, Jeans: Abercrombie, Shoes: Superga, Bag: Mansur Gavriel)

Isn't it funny that despite being in the midst of winter for the last couple of months (and wrapping up most days in at least 3 layers), most of my outfits haven't featured a coat? Of course thats not to say there hasn't been a coat sneakily hidden out of shot- but because most of the exciting stuff is happening underneath (cheeky cheeky), it usually makes sense to showcase that instead...

But fast forward to now and my coat collection has been seriously spruced up with the addition of this dreamy burnt orange Jigsaw number. Being something totally different in my wardrobe, I almost forgot it was hiding in there- but it's something I've found works beautifully as a more neutral piece- easily livened up with some subtle pastel additions and perfect paired with light denim, black velvet and skinnies with ankle boots. On top of that, shooting outside one of my favourite buildings in London, with Platform 9 and 3/4 a stones throw away inside the station, this all felt rather appropriate- especially with all the scarf swooshing that was going down (~cough~ despite having never seen Harry Potter)! Sometimes it definitely pays to try something new, especially if that's an excuse to wrap up warm too...

Love, Nana Liv.

Photos by Joe Galvin


Off To Hogwarts



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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