As the most visible part of your outfit for months at a time, finding the perfect outerwear pick that bridges versatility, style, comfort and practicality can be somewhat of a challenge.
Whilst we love a bare leg and shorts combo as much as the next person, there’s something about the clock striking 12:00 on August 31st that takes our minds fully into autumn/winter mode and ready to embrace all things cosy dressing. As the most visible part of your outfit for months at a time, finding the perfect outerwear pick that bridges versatility, style, comfort and practicality can be somewhat of a challenge. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the quest for the perfect buy, consider the other items in your wardrobe and work around the basic colour palette, style and silhouette of the hero items you wear on rotation to narrow down the hunt for ‘the one’.
Be it a classic Parisian trench, statement puffer, longline wool blend or a staple leather jacket, this is the fashion purchase of the year that might just benefit from an extra splurge.
Coat season is my season! I LOVE it. I probably have more coats and jackets in my wardrobe than anything else (and I steal my bf’s, too). I just think it’s such a great way to make the simplest of outfits feel more put-together and you get a lot of wear out of them, so it’s a worthwhile investment in my eyes. I usually go for a long wool blend coat I can chuck on with anything and not have to think too much about it. I also spotted this green quilted one from Stories which is basically like a big ol’ duvet so, I’m sold!
Besides Christmas, the other thing I love about winter as a season is being able to wrap up and snuggle up in a coat. I love layering through autumn and I usually extend this into the winter too with hoodies underneath jackets and coats. I love an oversized “workwear” shacket, something with a bit of length and you can’t go wrong with a bit of borg!
I’ve already ordered about 5 jackets this year and I’m just not sorry about it. I feel like a jacket really makes an outfit and the lighter options like a shacket or a blazer are great for heading into the office and keeping on. I’ve also picked out a couple of styles that I’ll be donning when the weather gets colder!
To be honest, the only part of winter dressing I LOVE is coats and jackets- I have more than I care to admit but I justify it as they’re the most visible part of your outfit during the colder months.
I’ve gone for two neutral picks in black and oxblood and two more fun additions to add a pop of colour to a gloomy day. I love textures when it comes to outwear and PVC is always super fun (and rainproof!) so I like to pretend it’s practical in some respect. Can I get away with ordering all four?
I bloody love coat season and always end up searching the Internet relentlessly for the best one! I love a shearling jacket and adore the selection of shackets currently being sold at H&M. I’ve picked a classic trench too from Zara as I think you can’t go wrong with one of these in your wardrobe.
Is there anything better than layering up your outfits this time of year? After a scorching summer, I’m definitely ready to feel a chill and dust off my winter jackets and coats. I’m a big believer in investing in a well-tailored wool coat, they never go out of style especially if you pick a neutral colour like black or tan. A slightly marmite choice, I’m a big fan of the teddy bear coats, you won’t find anything warmer for those peak winter days I assure you. Shop the Curated have some of the most gorgeous coats generally and they’re so worth the investment. Finally, I’m also all about having practical options too and being a big fan of long walks in the countryside come rain or shine a good quality parka is a must-have in every wardrobe.
Between You And Me: Answering Your Problems Part 8
This month, we’re discussing how to ride solo after a breakup, pushing through those frustrating creative blocks and presentation anxiety, aka Glossophobia. It’s a thing that affects around a whopping 75% of us!
We’re back for another juicy round of Between You & Me, the feature dedicated to helping you navigate life’s many, many predicaments.
This month, we’re discussing how to ride solo after a breakup, pushing through those frustrating creative blocks and presentation anxiety, aka Glossophobia. It’s a thing that affects around a whopping 75% of us!
We’re also tackling social distancing dating dilemmas, coming out to the grandparents, how to be there for a bezzie pal with cold feet and losing friends to serious relationships.
Is life serving you one too many lemons at the mo? Send your problems to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer them next time round.
Until then, grab yourself a brew & settle down with us, your in-house agony aunts!
Thank you for writing in to us, your dilemma really resonated with me because I too struggle with creative droughts more often than I’d like, and even though I’m aware it comes with the territory, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when all you want to do is do the thing you love and that you’re good at! The thing I’ve found most useful whenever I’m feeling creatively spent is to stop trying to force it.
Try to distance yourself from your work by doing something completely different – swimming, walking and listening to a podcast, meditating, whatever will help you mentally and physically step away from your work and your creativity. It’s not always easy because of that pressure to keep thinking of ideas & creating, but sometimes the best thing you can do to maintain the work you love and preserve your passion for it is simply to stop doing it. Just take a break and breathe for a minute; disconnect to reconnect.
Creativity isn’t always a comfortable pursuit. It can be intense, frustrating and mentally draining. It takes up a lot of energy and demands focus, so if you’ve got a lot going on elsewhere in your life between your part-time job and preparing yourself for uni, you might not be in the right mindset to sit and write or paint right now. I’d say that having some routine and establishing some healthy work habits can really help, too. When do you feel most creative? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Rather than trying to squeeze in a quick writing session or sitting down to work on some art before rushing off to your job, set aside some uninterrupted time to tend to your creativity. Pay attention to the things that you know make your creativity thrive.
Our best ideas often come to us as the most random of times, so use the notes section in your phone to write down any ideas that come to you organically when you’re not trying to force them or keep a notepad/sketchbook next to your bed. Lastly, I’d say look at your workspace – can you do anything to shake it up a bit and make it a space you want to spend time in (preferably near a window – that always helps me write!) You’ll push through it don’t you worry. Good luck, lovely!
As a creative myself, I know exactly how you feel and it can be the most frustrating feeling ever. A few things I always find help clear my mind and strike up some creativity are making sure I’m well-rested and focusing on myself more. Wellness and self-care are so important for our minds and bodies and sometimes if I’m not looking after myself, my mind goes to complete mush and I’m lucky if I can even string a sentence together let alone feel inspired to create something. Forcing creativity is also something that just doesn’t seem to work for me. I have to be in the right headspace and trying to force it usually ends in more frustration and comparison amongst my peers who are all out doing cool things which instantly highlights the fact I feel like I’m not. Be gentle with yourself and create some space to let it happen naturally. Try doing a few new things, go on walks, meet with friends, watch new films. Sometimes it’s easier to feel inspired when we’re just living our lives and experiencing new things as we do it! Good Luck! x
Thank you so much for writing in and sorry to hear your friend is having such a tough time!
A 10 year age gap is quite a significant one, but I assume when she entered into the relationship she would have been aware that there may be some differences in how their paths would align and differences in their individual wants and needs. I wonder therefore whether she has ever previously mentioned feeling that the relationship has moved too quickly or that she was feeling out of her depth? When you love someone I think it’s natural to want to slightly mould yourself a little to them in the hopes of making everything ‘perfect’, and perhaps she has prioritised his needs above hers and is only now realising that this feels inauthentic.
I think there are probably a few ways you could drop the subject into conversation without it seeming too suspicious- maybe next time wedding chat comes up ask how she’s finding it all, and if she responds negatively then maybe subtly pursue it and ask if she needs any help or if there’s something in particular she’s not enjoying.
It sounds promising that she has noticed this change in her mood, as at least she has some awareness of not feeling herself. Perhaps this is another relatively easy way to get the lowdown on what’s going on- maybe try texting her after the next time you meet and just ask if there’s anything you can help support her with if she doesn’t seem okay. As a genuine friend with really kind intentions, I don’t think there’s a way she could take this negatively and means you don’t have to directly mention the wedding- hopefully she might offer up some truths if you leave the floor open for her to be honest in a supportive environment. Are you guys part of a bigger friendship group or do you have any mutual friends you could confide in and see what their point of view is? Perhaps you could glean something from these conversations and share your concerns in confidence, as long as you can guarantee it won’t make it back to her.
Although it probably feels extremely frustrating to let her go ahead with this big life change that she doesn’t seem fully confident in, ultimately it will be her decision and one you will have to stand by and support as a friend. As long as you feel you have genuinely tried to be there for her and keep her best interests at heart I think that’s all you can really ever do!
Hi Anon, thank you for writing in and well done for being such a concerned friend! There’s a couple of strains of thought here, the first being a little more chill and non-problematic which is that there is a big difference between a wedding and getting married. What I mean by that is someone might be super excited to be married to their partner and spend the rest of their life with them, but planning an actual wedding can be really stressful and nerve inducing! Take it from a gal who hated planning a wedding this year and was actually pleased when I had to call the whole thing off. Maybe your friend is just over the constant wedding chat or is feeling extremely nervous for the day making her pull back a bit?
On the other hand, there were a few things you mentioned that we’re a little concerning for me, obviously, I am no one to judge and I don’t even know your friend or her partner, but a ten year age gap when someone is 18, is a little alarming, especially when they are already getting married when she is 21. Maybe try and approach her about the fact she’s feeling low, see if she’ll open up to you about her mental health, and less about her relationship as I’d imagine she might have had to defend it on a few occasions. As a good friend try to remind how much you are there for her and try and cheer her up any way you can, she could be going through something and the more she’s aware she has people around her who love her unconditionally the better. <3
I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a separation. Sometimes, doing the right thing definitely doesn’t mean doing the easy thing but it sounds like you’re confident in your decision and I’m sure that will serve you well further down the line, as you make peace with the end of that relationship and begin this next chapter of your life.
I know it’s a big fat cliché but time is your healing friend. Whenever we go through any kind of hardship whether it be grief, a breakup or a period of upheaval, it’s going to take some time to adjust. Yes, you made the decision to separate but that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to go through the motions. Breakups are messy, hard and complicated beasts, no matter how ‘ready’ you were to make that decision. I wish there was a fast-track course you could take to get you to that happy place asap but it’s just one of those things that takes time and patience. This new chapter of your life is going to feel just that: new, different, daunting even, and that’s ok. You will get there in time and you’ll learn to love the freedom that comes with starfishing in your bed, having a bloody good shag no string attached (when you’re ready of that!) and answering only to yourself. Often when we’re in relationships, we can neglect the things that make us happy so spend a bit of time reconnecting with the things in life that bring you pure joy. Be selfish for a while! This is YOUR time. Make loads of plans, book dinners out with your friends instead of dreading eating alone, stay busy, say yes to anything you would have previously said no to because you were in a committed relationship and had to plan your weekends around someone else.
It’s certainly not an easy process but be patient with your emotions and feel every part of it. This isn’t a step you can skip or rush and actually turning up and being present with your feelings of loneliness is an achievement in itself. Even if it doesn’t feel like you’re truly living at the moment, life is happening right now in this little stop-gap; don’t wish it away or try to get away from it. Everything you’re feeling right now is preparing you for this onward journey and what’s next for you. Sending you love!
I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through such a big life change and upheaval at the moment- even when it’s your decision it still rocks the boat and can feel so overwhelming. I have recently come out of a 5-year relationship and have also never been an adult without him by my side so I understand how you feel 10000%. Lockdown has been an incredibly isolating time in general, and I imagine the feelings you’re experiencing now might be intensified by the underlying emotions of the lack of connection and yearning for ‘normality’ that we’re all seeking. 2020 is a challenging ol’ year for every part of life so please don’t be too hard on yourself during this adjustment period.
I think it’s important to recognise and accept that things probably won’t feel normal or good or safe for a while, but that’s okay. Even if a relationship has its bad parts, it is SO normal to look back and miss the little things that once felt like second nature. But make sure to remind yourself of the reason for the split and how prioritising your happiness long term will always be more important and valuable than the temporary discomfort in spending time alone. Some of us are sociable and outgoing people by nature and having ‘your person’ by your side is such a comfort, but you were an individual before this relationship and will be an individual on the other side too- you just need to reconnect with the idea that you are your own biggest priority and getting to know you for who you really are on your own takes time.
Something that’s been difficult for me but so necessary has been seeing as many friends and family as possible (in a socially distanced environment) to act a distraction. My dad stayed with me during the first weekend that it happened so I didn’t have time to rehash the same thought processes 200 times, and since then I’ve just had to throw myself into seeing friends or working to keep my mind as busy as possible. Even if you see a friend and all you do is cry or sit in silence and watch a film, having the presence of someone else around you will be so comforting. It’s not a permanent solution, but is there someone in your life that might be able to stay with you for a while or be on hand when you really need another presence in the house? Eventually, you will find you need them less and less, but adapting to the idea of being alone is so hard, and I recommend getting all the help you possibly can from loved ones to make it as bearable as possible.
I’ve also gone back and forth over the idea of a rebound but it’s so hard to judge what might help vs what may leave you feeling worse. I would say there are probably healthier coping mechanisms you could use in this scenario that wouldn’t result in the same potential emotional effect this may have on you, but everyone is so different and perhaps being surrounded by others in this way will quash the loneliness until you’re able to confidently spend time alone with yourself.
No one is expecting you to be okay in this scenario right away, so please give yourself the time you need to go through the stages of grief that come from someone exiting your life. Reaffirm to yourself daily (or even hourly if needs be!) that these feelings are temporary, however overwhelming they may feel now. Humans are creators of habit and disruption to your routine in any context throws many of us off balance, the key is to trust that you will find a new normal that will eventually serve you better than a relationship which isn’t right.
Best of luck and sending so much love your way xxx
Thank you for having the courage to send your question in. I’m so sorry you’re going through such a rubbish breakup. I’ve been there and it really is so horrible to be left with unanswered questions and emotions for a person who’s no longer willing to take part in the conversation. Firstly can I just say how awful it is that not only you were dumped by text after two years together but on your anniversary too. What a douchebag. I’m sure you’ve been told this by all of the people who love you but please trust me, you deserve SO much better than that. No matter what his reasons were he took the cowards way out and it sounds like he has a lot of growing up to do. I know the saying goes “distance makes the heart grow fonder” however in my experience it can actually do quite the opposite for some people. Some, unfortunately, choose the “out of sight, out of mind” approach and it sounds like the amount of physical distance you had in your relationship potentially contributed to it ending the way it did. It sounds like your ex is moving on and as hard as it is when you feel so hurt and confused by what happened my advice is for you to try to do the same. It doesn’t sound like you’re going to get anything productive out of him or that he’s going to say anything that’s going to make you feel better. This is not your fault and with time you will start to forget about him and feel so much better off, trust me. If he didn’t have the respect for you to communicate how he was feeling and end things like a mature adult then you really shouldn’t waste any more of your precious time thinking about him. I know it’s so much easier said than done but i assure you there will be a man out there who treats you a million times better in the future and you will realise this had nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. I hope that helps and that you feel better really soon xx.
UGH. I feel the frustration of this situation even just from reading your dilemma. I’ve just come out of a 5-year relationship which ended not by my choice so I completely understand where you’re coming from in feeling hurt and disrespected- it’s so hard to come to terms with but I hope it helps knowing there are lots of us in the same boat riding out this horrible wave together.
My break up is very fresh but from my experience, trying to get answers has only ended in tears (mine). It could be that your ex is being shady to cover his own back, or it could be that he thinks the explanation or reasoning would hurt you more if he told you the truth. I suppose in some ways it might be nice to know the whole story and to stop your mind running away with you, but maybe consider what answer you would be hoping for and if that would actually make you feel any better in the long run. My ex has been really unwilling to communicate too and I think sometimes leaving the situation rather than continuing in the pursuit of answers that aren’t going to come is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Be the bigger and more mature person and try to accept that he doesn’t deserve how kind, compassionate and measured you are when he is behaving in the opposite fashion.
After the grieving period (which will take time but I promise will come), you will find a new sense of self-love that I hope will affirm to you that you deserve SO much better. Closure is hard to come by, but from my experience, even the process of chasing for answers and having some idea of the reasoning hasn’t provided any closure because it’s still far too raw. I think closure is something that comes with time and a feeling you find within yourself and not from someone else- especially someone who doesn’t deserve any more of your time or care.
I’ve started writing down my feelings in the notes on my phone or even sending the emotional/angry/sad messages I want to send to my ex to friends instead. I think in the long run you will appreciate a clean break rather than muddying the waters with more contact and opening the wound to more hurt. I know it feels so unfair but I think focusing on the future rather than the confusion of the past will pave the way for you to be much happier.
I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this but please know you will be stronger, happier and more resilient as a result and you have a wonderfully bright future ahead of you. Sending so much love!
COVID is a super tricky time for everyone and I can understand why it’s so frustrating not being able to stay at your boyfriend’s house or see him as often as you would like. Especially as you moved into this new flat as lockdown began, it’s a lot of new things to deal with!
Now, this is tricky with your flatmates, as I can see from their point of view, but I can also see the situation from yours too. I understand your flatmates not wanting you to stay at your boyfriend’s, especially if they don’t know him and therefore don’t know who else he is mixing with. I think many people in relationships are facing this same battle of not living with their partners and therefore not being able to stay overnight with them.
However, I think it’s unfair for your flatmates to say categorically you cannot meet with him at all, as I am sure they are all meeting their friends still whether that’s outside or inside. Now I know as you are in a relationship, they are probably worried about the physical contact side; kissing, hugging, etc. But not allowing you to see him at all is unrealistic and not considering your feelings too.
I think you should ask to sit down with them and have a proper chat with them about it all and find some sort of compromise. Living in a hostile environment is the last thing you want so I think just ignoring their feelings and staying at his could end badly, however as your flatmates I don’t think they have the right to dictate your relationship so closely.
Maybe suggest that you won’t stay at his until things get better with COVID, but that you will still be meeting him outside or in controlled environments (restaurants, pubs, cinemas, etc) as it is unfair that you cannot see your partner at all. Assure them again that you will be socially distancing and that you understand their feelings towards it too and therefore want to find a happy medium.
I hope that helps! xxx
I’m going to keep this short and sweet as I feel like COVID is such a weird and unprecedented situation that none of us is an expert in! Basically I think you should just focus on you and what you want to do as long as you’re not breaking the rules. At the moment you are more than welcome to see your BF as long as there isn’t more than 5 of him, ha! A lot of people have A LOT of opinions and usually, they’re coming from a place of fear. No one has the answers but as long as you’re being respectful enough your friends need to just understand that there are four of you living together with different lives and you can’t be scared to go out and see others forever. The more you see him the more they’ll just have to get used to it. Fingers crossed they get over it (and themselves) and it doesn’t ruin your friendship, and if it does they’re not friends worth keeping anyway.
Firstly, does anyone actually enjoy presentations? Show of hands… I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say they are a horrendous and pointless form of human suffering, haha. So, you’re definitely not alone! I guess that in itself should put your mind at rest a little bit – knowing that everyone else is just as nervous as you are.
I remember doing a presentation at uni and coming out in an awful stress rash all up my neck and over my chest. It’s still etched in my memory now. For as long as I can remember I have absolutely hated presentations and I can’t really put my finger on why that is. I think it’s the thought of taking charge of a room and commanding an audience. Like you, I’d be completely comfortable chatting with a big friendship group or networking with strangers at an event but when it comes to public speaking, I just freeze. I think we tend to get wrapped up in what everyone’s thinking of us when we’re stood up the front, when in reality, they’re probably not even listening at all, let’s be real here.
There are a few practical things you can do to help prepare your body and mind for a presentation. Primarily, rehearsing your script and knowing your subject well will give you the best possible chance of smashing your presentation. Having an outline to follow and fall back on will help you stay on track if you suddenly lose focus or feel overwhelmed. Speaking to yourself in the mirror or recording your presentation on your phone can also really help get you used to hearing your ‘presenting’ voice. The more prepared you are, the more in control and confident you’ll feel on the day. Visit the classroom you’ll be presenting in for a run-through beforehand if possible, this will eliminate any fears about where to stand, where you can plug your laptop in if you’re delivering a PowerPoint presentation or even where to put your water. Lots of people say picturing the audience naked helps… (or other visualisation techniques) – it helps you to get out of your own head. You can also try exercising before your presentation whether that’s a gentle jog or some stretches and breathing techniques to ease the tension in your body. Someone else also told me to wear a hairband on my wrist to flick beforehand, apparently, it helps to take away any tension or nervous energy!
If it’s something you continue to struggle with, you can also look for short-term therapy such as CBT to help you learn how to manage and reduce your anxiety. Good luck lovely – you can do this! xx
You are certainly not alone in hating presentations; I think many people find them really stressful or anxiety-inducing. Even your classmates who look as cool as a cucumber up there presenting, I’m sure if you asked them how they felt, many would say they felt anxious or worried when presenting to the class.
I remember at University hating presenting, I found them really stressful and would get waves of anxiety before presenting, my hands would shake, and I would catastrophise, envisioning all of the ways it could go wrong. When I actually got up to present, I would feel my voice wobble and see my hands shaking and think “everyone can see how nervous I am this is a disaster”. But when I asked my fellow classmates “could you tell I was nervous” every time they would say no and I would still get good marks, so something must have been going right!
Anxiety is a healthy emotion and it can show that we care too, so your anxiety around presenting is probably partly because you want to do well. However, if it begins to stop you presenting at all due to the utter fear you feel, that’s when you might want to look into CBT to break down why you feel so scared about presenting.
I felt the exact same as you and although I have anxiety around presenting, these little things have helped me feel more comfortable beforehand and while presenting. Firstly; practice, practice and practice! Knowing your presentation inside and out will make you feel way more confident. Practice it in front of friends and family, in your mirror, to your pet dog. The better you know it, the better you will feel. Making little cards too which prompt you on what to say are great, keynote is fabulous if you have an iPhone and its compatible with your school’s software as it allows you to make notes which you can read off of your phone will presenting. If not little notes on pieces of card is just as good! I also would practice my breathing beforehand, breathe in for 6, and out for 6, this will help regulate your breathing and reduce anxiety.
You are going to smash this year at school and please don’t worry that your fear of presenting could hold you back, I promise you it won’t. Presenting will get easier the more you practice and if it doesn’t you have options to help you overcome that fear. Wishing you all the best in the future! xxx
Hey Anon, thanks so much writing in with this, I’m so sorry you’re going through this and feel like you’ve lost such a close friend. I feel like one of the areas we’re still super behind on is male and female friendships. Obviously, I understand the complications and the jealousy aspect but it’s interesting how much more acceptable same-sex friendships, then friendships with two people from different sexes especially if they’re both straight. There is a lot of different angles here including your partner’s, your friend’s, and your friend’s girlfriend, and if I’m honest I can kind of see everyone’s point of view. It’s a shame your ‘ex’s’ new girlfriend is being so strict about him cutting ties with you to the extent she has, and if I’m honest the lack of trust there is a massive red flag but essentially that’s none of our business. Unfortunately, he has decided to pick her over you, and the best thing for you to do at this point is to be patient and hope that he comes to his senses, OR she feels comfortable enough in the future to let him have a relationship with you. As he’s such a good friend I would just have to respect his decision and give the situation some space as hard as that sounds. Good luck! x
Well, this ROYALLY SUCKS. As an outsider looking in, I can see that this is such a complex situation for all involved and there are certainly a lot of feelings flying about. Unfortunately, a lot of situations similar to that of you and your best friend are really romanticised in films and tv series. “BOY MEETS GIRL, THEY BECOME FRIENDS, THEY BECOME MORE, IT DOESN’T WORK. THEY SPLIT. THEY’RE FRIENDS AGAIN. REPEAT”, however, they usually continue to have feelings for each other (Ross & Rachel, Marianne and Connell) and it’s not that often that heterosexual male and female friendships are portrayed as anything else. This is a shame, and something I’d love to see more of on my tv screen! I don’t know why your friend’s girlfriend doesn’t trust him, which if I was him would be a serious red flag at the beginning of the relationship, but it’s unfair that it has meant you can’t continue to be friends. All he can really do is show her that there is nothing to be worried about, although it doesn’t sound like he was really given that opportunity which is a shame. It really shouldn’t make any difference that your friendship is not a same-sex one! All you can really do at this point is sit back and hope that your friend has a good long hard think about where his loyalty lies and that eventually he misses your friendship and comes running. (although I wouldn’t suggest waiting with open arms, he will certainly owe you an explanation as the trust between you both has also been shattered somewhat) Don’t let this be a reflection on you as a friend though, this is someone else’s insecurities being projected onto you. Go and live your best life with your other friends who appreciate you and love you! Good Luck!! x
Thanks so much for writing in to us, I’m really sorry to hear your relationship with your grandma is being affected because of your sexuality. As I don’t know your relationship and how things were when you were growing up or what your she is like generally I’m going to have to make a few assumptions but I think something that will go without saying is that your grandma will love you very much and her reaction is likely to be largely down to her fears for you and her desire for you to live a happy life. Unfortunately, it really sounds like there is a big generational divide here when it comes to what constitutes a normal happy relationship and the chances are your grandma has never had a gay person in her life before so she will probably need to completely re-learn everything she thinks she knows. As awkward as it might be I think the best thing to do in this situation is communicated and if you’re feeling like you want to check in on her you should. I don’t think this is the sort of thing that should be swept under the rug and never spoken about but it’s going to be up to you to educate her and reassure her that you are happy and being who you are is what is going to make you happiest person you can be. I’m sure it’s not something that will change overnight as grandparents do tend to be stuck in their ways from my experience however if you gradually make the effort and listen to her too I’m sure you can go back to having a really close relationship again. Above all don’t ever feel like you shouldn’t be who you are as at the end of the day if your grandma can’t accept who you are then that will be her loss. I hope it doesn’t come to that and she can come around. Please do keep us posted with how things go x.
I’m really sorry you are having to deal with all of this, and it sounds like a really stressful situation to be in. I’m sorry you have seen a distance from your Grandma ever since she found out about your sexuality, that must be so hard as you are just living as your authentic self and you shouldn’t have to hide that to make your Grandma or anyone happy.
From the sounds of things, this is probably a generational issue, especially as your Grandma fears you’ll be bullied due to your sexuality. Which like you said, back in her day people did have less freedom in expressing their sexuality and she probably finds it hard to disassociate that from the present day.
I think contacting your Grandma would be a great idea, I know there are tensions still from her ruining your birthday meal which I’m sure you would like an apology for. Would it be worth maybe asking for one and telling her again how it’s all making you feel? Reiterating with her that you are in a happy and healthy relationship, with a woman who cares greatly for you, and that you aren’t experiencing any judgement from anyone except from her. I wonder if her hearing this all again from you would make her rethink how she’s viewing it if she sees just how much this is all upsetting you.
I also don’t want you to have to explain your sexuality and identity repeatedly to anyone, whether they are family or a stranger, you shouldn’t have to justify how you want to live your life to anyone. So, if your Grandma can’t accept who you and is happy losing a relationship over it, it’s really her loss. I hope it doesn’t come to that and I really hope you can work it out with her as I can tell you really care about her, but there is only so much you can do.
Sending you lots of hugs and wishing you all the best in the future xxx
Here’s a thought, now we’ve experimented with the whole sh*tshow that is trying-to-go-out-in-the-middle-of-a-pandemic thing, shall we all just, stop pretending we like going out now? Yes, let’s.
Here’s a thought, now we’ve experimented with the whole sh*tshow that is trying-to-go-out-in-the-middle-of-a-pandemic thing, shall we all just, stop pretending we like going out now? Yes, let’s.
No one wants to be there – stuck in the middle of a table that’s slightly too small to accommodate six people; a table where only the loudest, deepest voices will carry across the rowdy abyss. Everyone’s petrified to dance in their own personal space, frightened to stand and waiting for the drinks to arrive via an app that doesn’t actually seem to work.
After three long hours of waiting for the elusive alcoholic bevs to appear, you’re sober, everyone else has disappeared and you’re the only thirsty fool waiting on your flat arsed prosecco to arrive because you paid a frugal £7.50 for the privilege and you are going to feel those piss-poor bubbles touch that lil’ dangly thing that swings in the back of ya throat if it’s the last thing you do.
Why on earth would we trade our v. comfortable chairs, our cheap plonk and our free cloakrooms for one-in-one out queues and music so loud, it makes us feel like we need to do a little poo. Ever so slightly. Must be those reverberations.
For all those times when going out-out requires way too much effort, there’s a silver lining in the shape of a cheap and cheerful night in, lazing around in your pjs with your best gal pals. No faffing with taxis, heels and hangovers – all dependent on how much Prosecco is a’ flowing, of course – just a stand-up bunch of slipper-clad lasses and their best singing voices at the ready.
We’ve come up with a few ideas to inspire the ultimate girls night in. Face masks and cucumber slices at the ready, let’s raise a glass (and the roof) to a cosy night in hanging with the tribe!
Have a movie marathon
Binge-watch your favourite box sets or pop on a rom-com. You can’t go far wrong with Friends re-runs and easy-viewing classics with a bit of a floppy-haired Hugh Grant thrown in for good measure. The best ideas are often the simplest.
If there’s one thing that screams girls’ night in, it’s a squad sat around in creepy sheet masks with cut out holes for eyes, followed by several failed attempts to get a c-u-t-e group Boomerang, before you all give up and settle for the best of a bad bunch #doitforthememories. Hydrating your pores whilst simultaneously drinking Prosecco? That’s how we roll.
And the pampering doesn’t have to end there. Pick out the best nail artist and CEO of doing French plaits among you and set up a little pop-up salon in your living room – manicures, sheet masks, bubbles…what more could a gal want in life?
Matching PJs… too sassy? Never. Who said co-ordinated sets are strictly reserved for hen dos and bridal parties.
No G.N.I is truly complete without a dedicated table of snacks. Sweet snacks, savoury snacks, healthy snacks – every kind of snack that ever lived. Sweet popcorn always goes down well on girls’ night. You could even go the extra mile and make your own DIY boxes, too, old school movie theatre style.
Usually, it’s bring your own booze but you know, bubbles are a given. A nice idea for a low-key girls’ night is to have everyone bring their favourite game, from Linkee to Monopoly – roll on the good times!
Ready, Steady, Bake
You can never have too many sweet treats on offer at Ladies night. Channel your inner Mary Berry, apron up and get your bake on. Whether you’re in the mood for a zesty lemon drizzle, creamy red velvet cupcakes or a classic Victoria sponge, nothing brings people together quite like bonding over cake. Pals that bake together, stay together! FACT.
A little tipple
A night in is the perfect excuse to dust off the the more interesting bottles of liqueur in your stash and try your hand at mixology, the more fruity, pink and sparkly the better!
Shake it off
Picture that epic sleepover in 13 Going On 30 when they’re all gathered round the bed belting out Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield. It’s iconic, right? So naturally, recreating it in your own living room is really the only thing that makes sense. Pump up the ultimate girl power anthems and dance like no one’s watching. It beats a sticky dance floor at midnight, hands down!
See, staying in IS the new going out! We hope you have fun planning your ultimate girls night in.
Let us know what you get up to in the comments below.
24 Seriously Stylish ‘In-Between’ Days Clothes For The New Season
Are you feeling ready for Autumn, but the weather forecast screams heatwave, whilst also already dreaming of your Christmas morning bucks fizz and mince pie? Same.
Are you feeling ready for Autumn, but the weather forecast screams heatwave, whilst also already dreaming of your Christmas morning bucks fizz and mince pie? Same. The transition from one season to another can be a tricky styling situ, with plenty of ‘can I get away without a coat’ dances at the door as you deliberate your outfit choice for the 24035th time before leaving the house …
To get the most out of your wardrobe all year round, layering, layering and layering some more is the most effective way to get more bang for your buck and utilise the pieces you know and love. Intersperse with new trend items or a few ‘must-have’ pieces that you simply can’t leave behind and you’re well on your way to nailing the midseason fashion period.
Go bare legs with a jumper, sandals but with dungarees and tee shirts with boots and enjoy the few occasions in a year that all your favourite pieces work together.
Let’s Talk About Female Pleasure: A Beginner’s Guide to Masturbation
Women like to masturbate. There, the secret’s out. Burn us at the stake. And you know what, some of us even watch porn. Audible gasp. For some reason, female self-pleasure doesn’t seem to get the same air time as male self-pleasure.
Women like to masturbate. There, the secret’s out. Burn us at the stake. And you know what, some of us even watch porn. Audible gasp. For some reason, female self-pleasure doesn’t seem to get the same air time as male self-pleasure.
Guys talk openly about tugging on their dicks on the daily and it’s a celebration of manhood, a cumming of age tale; but we talk about stroking our ‘flower’ and that’s taboo? Well, we don’t need to be Samantha Jones to call BS on that school of thought.
Female sexual wellbeing and gratification is a big beautiful deal and there is zero shame in wanting to experience that American Pie moment for yourself. If someone else can’t get you there, (hell even if they can get you there), touching yourself on the regular feels good and there’s no need to pussyfoot around that.
Flicking your bean, Jilling off, downstairs DJ-ing – whatever masturbation moniker you like to use is absolutely none of our business. As long as it gets you the euphoric orgasm you deserve once in a while!
So, whether you’re stuck in a rut and looking to try something different or wondering how to go solo with your sexual pleasure, here’s a beginner’s guide to masturbation. Because no one else can do you like you do you. Get out of your head and into your body
Easier said than done because let’s face it, the mind wanders onto ALL sorts when you’re trying to get in the mood. How many corgies DOES the Queen have? Why does tumbleweed tumble? So. Many. Mental. Blocks. In those moments, breathe through it, close your eyes and try to reconnect with your body. Put your phone on silent to eliminate any distractions. Take a bath to unwind, pick somewhere comfortable and zero in on the sensations. Mindfulness is your bezzie pal.
Let go of any pressure
We’re just gonna put it out there: the first time you masturbate, you probably won’t come and that’s more than ok. It’ll take some time to perfect your masturbation tekkers but you can still have plenty of feel-good fun in the meantime. Masturbation doesn’t have to be another thing you need to fail or accomplish. Just enjoy the ride!
Take your sweet time
Contrary to what most tv shows will have you believe, a very small minority of women actually climax from foreplay-less, P in the V sex – that is penetrative sex. Bish, bash, bosh, cue the mutual orgasm. Oh, PER-LEASE. We can’t go from zero to hero without an adequate warm-up, people. We need the intimate build-up if we’re to go full-on WAP mode. Nearly all our nerve endings are in the clitoris, suffice to say, that little hood is worthy of your full attention if you want to make it to that grand finale. Ain’t no hood like a clitoral hood.
Get in touch with your turn-ons
Whilst the vagina is pretty fundamental in all this, you don’t have to spend all your time there. Nipple stimulation and light strokes across your inner thighs, the nape of your neck or your belly can be just as arousing. Find out what makes you tick and do more of that. Knowledge is your superpower.
Make it a moment
Self-pleasure is the purest form of ‘you’ time, so don’t rush through it. It’s all in the build-up! Put as much care and thought into it as if you were getting ready for a date. Put on the slow jams, light the candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, moisturise your body, buy the silky overpriced pants. You’re worth it.
Try an A.M. session
Some people work out in the morning, some people eat porridge and some people touch themselves mmmk. We’re all wired differently and if a pre-work wank makes you tick, then you go get it girl. Nothing sets you up for the day like an A.M. session. Good MORNING, Britain.
Introducing a few playthings into the mix is a great way to shake up your masturbating technique. Personal massagers (aka sex toys), porn, certain positions, pillow humping, getting friendly with the showerhead – get to know the root to your orgasm like the back of your hand. The more familiar you get with the inner workings of your body, the better sex you will have. Period.
Make sure you’ve got time on your hands, literally
There’s no greater buzzkill than the food shop turning up before you’ve had a chance to hit the fanny jackpot. But hey, if a danger wank works for you, carry on. You do you!
13 Questions With Molly Masters, Founder at Books That Matter
We caught up with Molly Masters from Books That Matter - the UK’s leading and largest book subscription box - to find out how much her business has grown through 2020, and what the team are currently working on.
First off, how are you and how have you been coping in 2020?
2020 has been such a rollercoaster, but in my personal and professional life, it’s been a generous year for me, so I’m feeling very grateful. It sounds cheesy, but I’m enormously fortunate that my family and loved ones are safe, happy and healthy, so I’ve been waking up with gratitude for that every single day. My book subscription box business, Books That Matter, actually quadrupled in size which was astounding, and it has been amazing to watch my business baby continue to take such big strides!
Personally, I was actually shielding from March to early August because I have a chronic respiratory disease, so that was a bit of a wild ride, especially with Books That Matter growing exponentially at the same time, my whole life felt like a bit of a whirlwind. But, I was able to be in my lovely little home in Bristol with my partner, my cats and my books, and my lovely team on Zoom, so I learned to roll with it pretty quickly. I think, if anything, 2020 has taught me much more resilience than I knew I had, I’ve had to trust my instincts when it has come to the business growing, taking a few more risks with how we work, throwing the rule book out the window when it came to our schedule.
We started this year with around 800 subscribers and now that’s more than quadrupled, so the systems and ways of working changed so dramatically with that steep incline, but we’ve learned, grown and we’ve moved – my team and I say that all the time: “we MOVE!”
So, Books That Matter was actually born when I was in my second year of university. I’ve always loved women’s writing, feminism, and feeling empowered by new characters, powerful protagonists and sharing reading experiences with other women. I was the first in my family to go to university and was aided by amazing grants at the University of Sussex for working-class students, and I loved every minute of it. I really envisaged myself going into academic teaching, but the cost of doing so was too high for me to manage, I was already working three jobs in my undergrad, I couldn’t see myself doing it and mentally being able to cope. Whilst I felt like my world was spiralling – I’m such a planner, I’d had this journey in my head for ages and I felt a huge block in not knowing what I was doing next after uni – I threw myself into more reading, and with the question of accessibility in the front of my mind, I started to think about all the other women who might not be able to access this amazing literature I’d discovered at uni because they can’t afford it, or they don’t know where to find it.
A lot of literature is shrouded in elitism and that has to change! So, I decided to work on bringing women’s writing to a platform that was accessible, affordable, and exciting – and Books That Matter was brought to life! I took the idea to a local entrepreneurship competition, completed all the workshops and business-related tasks with no business experience (up against lots of business students!), and became the first female winner of the £10,000 investment prize, and was able to start up Books That Matter from there! I’m now 23, running the UK’s leading and largest book subscription box, a winner of Female Start-Up of the Year, and a finalist for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, also running a team of eight, and loving every second of it!
Our boxes are glorious monthly parcels of empowerment and inspiration. At £17 each, each themed box includes one piece of fiction by a female or non-binary author, and at least 3 gifts from independent female creatives and ethical businesses, as well as a beautifully illustrated bookmark and a 12-page magazine containing author interviews and themed content from recipes to nail art. Our themes have ranged from Black Women’s History Month, self-care, Greek goddesses, witchcraft, to collaborations with the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and most recently, Penguin Random House and Elif Shafak.
Our boxes are always made with sustainable materials, and we work directly with global publishers and small indie publishers too. Our promise is always to provide a platform for incredible writers, as well as independent female-run businesses; you won’t find any testers or tiny freebies in our boxes, only full-sized, quality, often exclusive and limited-edition products from diverse, ethical businesses. We always want for our boxes to be something exclusive and special for our subscribers, a reading experience you just can’t get anywhere else!
What have you got coming up in next month’s box?
Our next box theme is “Season of the Witch”, and we’ve curated a sparkling, celestial, witchy and wonderful box. We are fully embracing the Halloween season and including a gripping novel which is a reimagining of an iconic gothic tale with a feminist and LGBTQ+ spin. Last year we did a similar spellbinding theme, Witch Please, which was one of our bestsellers, and putting this box full of magic, wonder and witchcraft has been equally as exciting and festive. Inside, we’ll be including self-care products for the Autumn months, celestial stationery, hair accessories and more! In a year completely turned on its head, we really wanted to ground this box in the turn of the season to get us all feeling connected and magical. As October is also Black History Month, we have a wealth of content planned to celebrate and uplift that, and we’re continuing our pledge to launch quarterly Diversify Your Bookshelf packages which will be curated for anti-racist reading and supporting black and minority background authors.
You also have a podcast, can you tell us who you have coming up?
YES! We are so excited about the rebranding of our podcast and have recently relaunched it at Feminist in Progress. All of our bookish interviews are still there to be enjoyed, but we felt we wanted the podcast to be a more open space for things beyond the bookish, so we can start conversations on feminism and equality, which is hugely ingrained in our ethos. Our first guest on Feminist in Progress was the lovely Essie Dennis, but we also have upcoming interviews with Lisa Taddeo (author of Three Women), Jo Westwood (who is an amazing co-dependency coach encouraging women to live their very best, independent lives), and Bami, a new business friend I made while speaking at Facebook, she runs amazing Twerk After Work exercise classes through her business Bam Bam Boogie!
What has been your biggest achievement as a business?
Being able to work with such amazing women is honestly the biggest achievement I could ever ask for. I get to talk to my favourite authors, work with inspiring business owners and support their trade, get support from thought-leading mentors, collaborate with some huge organisations, and have built a team who I absolutely adore. There were a lot of times when I was packing boxes by hand in my tiny Bristol flat, in our outdoor storage unit, and feeling lonely in my first little office, that I felt like this would never become what I dreamed of, it just felt like my dreams were too big and the path to them far too hard. But there was always something in the back of my mind that believed in it all, and now I have the most supportive BTM family and the business I always dreamed of.
Being featured in places like Forbes, Stylist, the London Evening Standard, talking at Facebook, winning Female Start-Up of the Year, on top of all that is just incredible and I could never muster the words to say just how much it means to me. I grew up in an incredibly small town where people just don’t run their own businesses, especially women, and especially without any experience; so, to be doing all of this, it’s just the best thing I could have ever envisaged for my life. Plus, I earned enough to get two cats, so there’s that too! If there’s something else I’ve learned this year it’s that we as women definitely need to hype ourselves more, don’t be so humble all the time, celebrate every single win, even if in this day in age it means dancing around your dining room in mismatched pyjamas! Celebrate yourself, and good things will happen.
Why do you think so many people turned to reading during the lockdown?
I think people like to think there’s a split here between people who genuinely just exhausted Netflix and Amazon Prime, and those who needed to escape, but really, anyone losing themselves in other narratives, be it on TV, podcasts, Youtube, or in a book, we’re all looking for a bit of escapism, aren’t we? I think books have brought a lot of people great comfort this year, and books really do have the ability to make us feel comforted, uplifted, empowered, and less alone.
Especially in the throws of lockdown, we all lost a little bit of our ordinary lives, and it perhaps can be supplemented by living vicariously through the travels, adventures, experiences and narratives of others through fiction. It’s been an enormous privilege to help a lot of people reconnect to their love of reading through lockdown, books are so important.
What are some of your team’s favourite reads of 2020?
This year has brought so many challenges, not just with lockdown, but with the civil rights movement of Black Lives Matter, and a lot of environmental disasters too; I think it’s been a wake-up call for a lot of people, and there’s such an amazing generation of people really pioneering new ways of thinking and supporting each other, and leading the way for how they want the world to look. So, we have enjoyed discussing a lot of very socially conscious novels like An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo, and Queenie by Candice Carty Williams. But we’ve also been enjoying lighter novels that make us feel connected like Olive by Emma Gannon or fully submerge us in a new world like Women’s Prize winner Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. If, like me, you often feel overwhelmed by the news, I’d recommend picking up a politically motivated or socially conscious novel, and learning that way.
What is the best thing about the book community?
The love, all the love! We have people in our community that have been with us since 2018 when we started, and that feels so heartwarming. We get the best messages and support and comments on a daily basis from subscribers and followers old and new, it really does make this a very fulfilling job to do. Knowing that you’re creating something each month that people genuinely count down the days to is just so wholesome; and our community form their own circles of online friendships, discussion groups, and we see so much of that in our Facebook group too. The book community is also a very forward-thinking and inclusive one, which is a great place to be. It’s a pleasure to be part of it, and a place where conversations are started.
Who are some of your favourite ‘bookstagram’ accounts on IG?
I learn a lot from the amazing MJ who runs @novelallure, she creates amazing graphics of books you should read, often themed by country or nationality, which helps to keep your bookshelf and TBR diverse! I also love the bookish aesthetics on @booksandpeonies, the inclusivity of @whatsallyreadnext and @bethsbookshelf, and the amazing bookshop photos on @sajdareads.
What are you currently working on as a team?
We are spinning a lot of plates at the moment, but we’re making it work! At the moment, we’re working hard on the launch of our second book subscription business, Brave Girls Book Club, which is the first book subscription box for young girls; empowering and inspiring them through female-led fiction and powerful protagonists! We’re also working on our bookshop takeovers each week on our socials, so our followers can see bookshop tours and engage in Q+As with independent bookstore owners and support them in these trying times!
Additionally, we’re hosting an online festival in September to celebrate our 2nd birthday, full of interviews on our Instagram Live with loads of amazing authors. On top of this, we’re also launching lots of new ready to ship gift boxes and merchandise too!
What books are you most excited about reading next year?
If you could recommend one book to our audience to read this year, what would it be?
This question made my brain hurt, and I so badly wanted to suggest 1,000,000,000 but the book I’m recommending to everyone at the moment is Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It’s a memoir by an incredibly powerful writer who talks of the transition of leaving her broken marriage for a new queer relationship, it’s incredibly moving and life-changing and really forces you to think about the choices and autonomy you have in your own life. We’re so often scared of change, but we need to embrace it more, especially big, radical, scary changes. Glennon captures it perfectly in this book.
Change is in the air, Halloween is just around the corner and sweater weather is brewing away nicely in a wardrobe near you.
Autumn is categorically the best season. The end.
Change is in the air, Halloween is just around the corner and sweater weather is brewing away nicely in a wardrobe near you. We’re stalking our local pumpkin patch, checking for signs of Cinderella coach-worthy gourds and sprawling vines like some kind of PYO secret agent. Always ahead of the carve.
True, the balmy Summer evenings spent getting gently merry in the park did serve us well when Boris Johnson and his shit show of stuttering doom got a little too much for us to bear, but let’s not dwell on that. Let’s welcome the fall equinox with open, socially distanced arms.
If you’re still mourning the long, languid Summer of 2020, here’s a few reasons to get excited about Autumn’s imminent toasty arrival.
It’s the most sensory season
Season of mists and mallow fruitfulness – John Keats was a wise, wise man. The crunch of leaves underfoot, the misty mornings, the colours of the trees, the whiff of smoke from a neighbour’s chimney – Autumn sure is a feast for the senses.
Tell you what you won’t miss about Summer, seeing the sheen from your clammy upper lip in your field of vision before you’ve even left the house. Throw a mask into the mix and you’d be casually wringing your chin out to dry by 7am. No such hardships exist in Autumn. It’s all big, cosy, effortless combinations of layers, turtle necks, coats and boots. Sayonara, hay fever.
As the evenings get darker and chillier, the food gets all hearty on us. Salads give way to mammoth cheese boards, hot soup and crusty rolls, country pub roasts and nostalgic puddings swimming with custard. Even your cup of tea somehow tastes better now that it’s accompanied with a blanket and a packet of Custard Creams. Miraculous.
Thanks to That Which Shall Not Be Named, lots of our favourite television shows and upcoming films were put on hold this year but there are still plenty of televisual treats to get stuck into. The Autumn line-up is already looking promising with Strictly Come Dancing, Emily in Paris starring Lily Collins, Riviera Season 3, The Undoing with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant and Bridgerton – a nice fluffy period drama – all airing this fall. That’ll give us something worth staying in for.
One of the best things about Autumn is the change of pace. Everything gets a tad slower, your friends and family are generally in agreement that a Saturday night in beats a Saturday night out freezing ya tits off at the taxi rank. The pressure to seize the day becomes permission to seize the duvet, and you can rest safe in the knowledge that everyone else is doing the very same thing: eating Twiglets and cinnamon rolls in their dressing gown.
All the good books
Curling up with a good book just feels better when it’s blowing a gale outside. Snug (and smug) as a bug in a rug.
Who knows if it’s going to be all trick and none of the treat this year but that’s not to say that we can’t get our spook on for one of the best holidays of the year, even if we are just sat at home with the cat, like the world’s most tragic witch. Know that we will be knocking back the pumpkin punch and howling at the moon in spirit.
It’s zero effort
Everything rests up, including our well-manicured bikini line of July. Autumn, you marvellous, sexy orange tinted bastard – we’re ready for ya!
From sinking one too many PSLs to hunkering down with Netflix, what are you looking forward to the most this Autumn?
Whether you're a lover of a tote, mini, clutch or shoulder bag, there's no denying that having the right selection of handbags in your repertoire can take an outfit from zero to hero in an instant.
Whether you’re a lover of a tote, mini, clutch or shoulder bag, there’s no denying that having the right selection of handbags in your repertoire can take an outfit from zero to hero in an instant.
Curating the perfect picks to match your look makes nailing your personal style a breeze.
You’ll find a chic and cool selection of classic, black ‘goes with everything’ picks this week, as well as some fun and flirty additions for those occasions you want to really make a statement. Curating the perfect picks to match your look makes nailing your personal style a breeze. Unlike our other favourite accessory (the humble shoe) handbags are pretty darn reliable no matter the weather, and also don’t depend on you having a perfect pedicure making them a winner in our book!
Click through to see the handbags giving us major heart eyes right now.
Ohh I LOVE a very Extra accessory (as you can see), so whilst they may not go with everything, they make up for in beauty what they may lack in versatility.
If we’re talking bags there will almost always be a tote thrown in there to house my extensive ‘must-haves’ (currently mask, hand san and headphones). For the evening I love a playful mini bag design! This gorgeous yin-yang design from Staud is a bit more mature in its look, but I’m also v into how playful the butterfly pearl bag from SkinnyDip is. Truly the definition of a bag for every mood!
I’ve picked 4 bags for 3 situations! First up is a classic day bag, perfect for work and weekend, a classic black crossbody from &OtherStories who always have a great accessory collection. Then a simple string shopper great for taking to the shops or beach or always having on you. Then my fave travel bag, a Longchamp tote, these are great as you can fit so much in, they go with every outfit and you can fold them up if you don’t use it whilst you’re away. The finally a snazzy Gucci investment evening bag that will be the perfect finishing touch to any outfit.
I never really stray from black when it comes to my handbag collection, not the most adventurous with colour but I just think black handbags look so sleek! If I’m off to a bar you can guarantee I’ll be wearing a 90’s style shoulder bag. If I’m feeling a bit extra I love a tiny handbag which virtually only fits your phone in, style over functionality! My go-to is normally a cross-body bag, goes with every outfit and is a solid fave. I think you always need an office bag too, work mode on and super practical. I like a tote which has a built-in laptop compartment, now that’s efficient!
The two bags I probably get the most use out of are these! The Gucci bag is obviously a much bigger and more considered purchase but I’ve worn it now for years and it’s still in great condition. I like the size of both these bags and the fact they can be worn over the shoulder (this is a must for me, I’m not really an arm handbag carrier). I also love the thickness of the strap on the other stories bag and this one fits a little more In it as it has more compartments!
I’m still in one big Summer m-o-o-d, holding onto the lighter evenings and soaking up the last of the heatwave. Hunting for shells is no longer limited to days at the beach, oh no. It’s part and parcel of my shopping behaviour now and I’m not even sorry because look at this beauty. Straw bags are the perfect accessory for a stroll down to the beach or an al fresco dinner, and when shaped like a shell, well, the world’s your oyster! For the casual days, I want something functional that I can throw on with anything, no matter the outfit, so I’ll reach for a crossbody.
Lately, the only bag that I need in my life is my little black Longchamp backpack. I’ve had it for years now and it still looks perfect. It’s super practical and although it’s a backpack it’s still semi-smart so you can wear it with pretty much anything. It’s great for when you just want to carelessly chuck loads of things you might need in to go for a walk or just out for the day, which if you have a dog like me, tends to consist mostly of a lot of treats, fold-up dog bowls, water and poo bags!
The AW20 Trend Report: 10 Looks To Wear Now Summer’s Done & Dusted
Now, as Summer bows out for another year, we’re looking forward to switching up our wardrobes for the colder months ahead.We are so ready to be swaddled in acres of knitwear and coats that resemble dressing gowns.
We all had high, high hopes for a Summer of sartorial greatness this year, but 2020 had other ideas. Enter sweatpants.
Loungewear finally got the fashion promotion it deserves, and we spent the best part of six months getting all dressed up for the living room. And by dressed up, we mean, you know, dressed.
Now, as Summer bows out for another year, we’re looking forward to switching up our wardrobes for the colder months ahead. We are so ready to be swaddled in acres of knitwear and coats that resemble dressing gowns.
From Zoom friendly collars to jackets that’ll double up as a duvet, keep scrolling to see what’s what this Autumn / Winter.
If, like us, you fell hard for lilac this Summer, then you’re in for some good news because our fave pastel hue is going nowhere for Autumn/Winter. Whether you opt for lavender accessories or go ham with a head-to-toe suit, a splash of lilac is bound to brighten up a grey Winter’s day.
Spotted at: Hugo Boss, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Acne
2. Duvet dressing
Just when you thought you were going to have to consciously uncouple your sweatpants ready to head back to office professionalism, duvet dressing saves the day. Our emotions are spared!
From full-length coats to gilets and puffer jackets, soft quilted layers mean you can enjoy home comforts wherever you are, even if you’re stuck on the dreaded commute. If ever there was an excuse to rock that just rolled out of bed look, it’s now. I woke up like this!
Someone needs to let our wardrobe know that it’s about to get a set of bangs and there’s nothing it can do about it. Deconstructed pleats, trailing boho tassels and adorned shoulders are where it’s at. If it doesn’t move like a Gatsby party, we don’t wanna know. Whether you go all out with a floor length dress or dabble with detail on a blouse, there’s no better way to elevate your garms this season.
All the usual toasty autumn shades unsurprisingly dominated the runway in all four of the fashion capitals for AW20 and we ain’t mad. From chocolate trousers to cappuccino shirts and caramel knitwear, dress like your favourite morning brew and you won’t go far wrong.
Spotted at: Rejina Pyo, Margaret Howell, Agnona
5. Turn up the volume
From XL balloon sleeves at Fendi to Simone Rocha’s head-turning cocoon silhouettes, let this be our sartorial reminder to take up as much space as we can, ladies. It’s our turn to be seen and heard.
Spotted at: JW Anderson, Alexander McQueen, Simone Rocha, Fendi, Chanel
6. Ride it out
You don’t need to own a show pony to get involved with this stable boy trend. Knee high riding boots, double breasted blazers & sleek tailoring is all it takes to give your autumn wardrobe a touch of the equestrian influence.
That’s right, the humble Chandler Bing vest has some serious staying power, cementing itself as a major player this Autumn. Layer one over your favourite midi dresses or pair it with your suit trousers for a practical and chic not-quite-autumn-yet outfit. We suggest you start rifling through your dad’s wardrobe asap.
Spotted at: Lacoste, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Prada, Christian Dior
8. The conference call collar
For those of us still working from home with a calendar full of video calls, you’ll know all about that dressing from waist up life.
A statement collar instantly makes it look like you’ve made an effort, even if your bottom half tells another story. All business up top, hedgehog pjs down below – they’ll never know.
Whether you go Peter Pan, pie crust or Broderie Anglaise, a look-at-me collar will ensure you’re camera ready.
Spotted at: Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Chloe
9. Hell for leather
Leather is always a key fabric at this time of year, so whether you opt for minimalist separates or a floor sweeping trench coat as seen at Burberry & Saint Laurent, this is one timeless trend that’ll last far beyond one season.
Spotted at: Burberry, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Saint Laurent
10 Stomping ground
Last year, we saw the arrival of chunky track sole shoes and boots (the uglier the better) and this year, the heavy-duty utilitarian style has stuck around. Best foot forward!
Fireside Fiction: 16 Cosy Books To Curl Up With This Autumn
Let’s set the scene: the woody candles are flickering away, there’s a steaming mug of hot chocolate just within reach and you’ve got nowhere else to be but here, leaving butt cheek imprints on the seat of your favourite arm chair.
On a rainy Autumn day, there’s no better feeling than hibernating indoors away from the elements with a blanket over your knees and a good book to boot.
Let’s set the scene: the woody candles are flickering away, there’s a steaming mug of hot chocolate just within reach and you’ve got nowhere else to be but here, leaving butt cheek imprints on the seat of your favourite armchair.
You might break to gnaw on a chocolate Hobnob here and there, stretch your legs, sniff your paperback (we know you do it) but other than that, you don’t intend to move from this reading nook right here.
From seasonal must reads full of heart and poignant observations, to beloved classics with their crumbling manor houses and 10/10 heroines, these are the cosy books chilly autumn days & evenings were made for.
What better way to kick off the cosy reading list than with a book rooted in Autumn? The first of four seasonal novels by Scottish author, Ali Smith, Autumn is a beautiful and nuanced exploration of our relationship with time; how we experience it and how we narrate it. Buy Autumn here.
If you like your fiction heartfelt and fanciful, look no further than The Snow Child. Set in 1920s Alaska and based on the old Russian fairy tale, Snegurochka, it tells the story of a couple who create a child out of snow.
The next morning the snow child is gone, but they catch sight of an elusive, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. The little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and leaves blizzards in her wake. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever. Buy The Snow Child here.
If you don’t have time to sink your teeth into a novel then tuck into one of Zadie Smith’s incredible short stories from her book Grand Union. Mostly based in New York the book is packed full of 19 different narratives you might find yourself as an artist in ‘Downtown’ or a drag queen in ‘Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets’. Buy Grand Union here.
Like a comforting cup of tea in book form, The Switch is the warm and fuzzy tale we all need in these turbulent times (aka 2020 as a whole). Bursting with heart, warmth and unruly OAPs, it will have you howling with laughter one minute and welling up with happy tears the next. Buy The Switch here.
When Lizzy finds herself unexpectedly single, her whole life is flipped upside down but through the heartbreak and tears, she sees an opportunity to discover who she really is. It’s a joyful reminder that happiness can be found where you least expect it. Buy Some Kind of Wonderful here.
Hunker down for the night with Louisa May Allcott’s timeless and teary classic. The March sisters will fill your heart with warmth but also rip it out a tiny bit. Cryers, you have been warned. Buy Little Women here.
A richly imagined, genre-defying love story, laced with bookbinding magic and unforgettable characters. This is a booklover’s dream! PS look at that enchanting cover, it’s crying out to be top of your Autumn stack. Buy The Binding here.
Nothing says cosy quite like knitting and in this adorable romance Jesse and his brother struggle after the loss of their mother Mama Joy and the knitting shop she has left behind. Whilst fighting to keep the store open Jesse finds himself becoming more and more attracted to one of his employees Kerry, didn’t we tell you this story was adorable? Buy Real Men Knit here.
On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. A delightful book you’ll want to savour cover to cover in one sitting rather than grabbing quick snatches here and there. Buy The Little Paris Bookshop here.
When the wind’s bleating against the windows, you can’t beat staying up way past midnight in the glow of your bedside lamp with a bit of Austen for company. This classic tale of romance and passion never gets old. Buy Pride & Prejudice here.
Fall in love with chronically ill computer-obsessed Chloe Brown, as she creates a checklist to officially help her “get a life.” Throw in the perfect tattooed handyman artist and you’ve got yourself a bestseller from Talia Hibbert. Get comfy as you’ll want to gobble this one up in one sitting. Buy Get a Life, Chloe Brow here.
Sometimes, we just need to indulge in an undemanding book and the latest novel from Salley Vickers fits the bill nicely. A tender portrait of the bond between grandmothers and their grandchildren, it’s the soothing Autumn read we all need right now. Buy Grandmothers here.
What even is Autumn without this du Maurier fireside treat? Atmospheric, gothic and oozing with suspense, whiling away the hours inside the eerie walls at Manderley House is time well spent indeed. Buy Rebecca here.
What’s top of your cosy reading list this season?
Get it while it's hot!
Sign up to receive our email, delivering the latest stories straight to your inbox.
Get it while it's hot
Sign up to receive our email, delivering the latest stories straight to your inbox.