A New Year Update

Maybe my new year's resolution (not that I particularly believe in making them) should be to avoid starting every blog post with something a long the lines of "sorry I haven't written on here for a while" or "it's been difficult to know what to write about" because there is obviously an on going theme of not finding the time or enthusiasm to write. One thing I've found myself struggling particularly with so far in 2021 is finding the energy to keep myself motivated and powering through. Generally speaking on any given year January's are historically a pretty strange time for most people; it’s always that limbo period between the blissful merriment of Christmas and waiting impatiently for Spring to begin and shine a little light into our days. I can only speak from personal experience but in my job, this is always the quiet time of the year. Brand's are planning out campaigns, sales are still in full swing and all in all there's just very little going on. In that sense this year hasn't really broken the norm, the only difference being that right now everyday is groundhog day. There's no breaking away from grey weather or the lack of motivation with a coffee date, a long weekend away or a trip to the cinema (something which I found myself particularly pining after right now) and so you'd be forgiven for feeling more at a loose end than usual.

A Dose Of Coastal Air

Wow things move at lightning speed around here these days and suddenly tier 3 status doesn't seem like such a bad thing compared to the prospect of this week's lockdown restrictions. It's nigh on impossible to keep up with the ever changing rules and it's even more challenging to keep hopes high especially when you can't help but feel like we've gone three steps back. This last week I've found myself feeling generally exhausted and a little lacklustre as the light at the end of the tunnel moves further and further away. The funny thing is this last month (well at least the start of it) had actually felt the most "normal" in a long time. I was actually excited for Autumn, I had plans! Imagine that, actual dates in my diary which I was able to keep! I went on days out and ate in cafes, things which were so small and trivial this time last year but in 2020 I'd been pining for. Most notably a couple of weeks back I went on a mini break to Cornwall with my boyfriend Joe and Pep the dog, in hindsight we couldn't have been more lucky with our dates as we avoided tier 3 restrictions by the skin of our teeth and my heart truly goes out to all those planning staycations which have now swiftly been cancelled. I guess it's this sense of normality I experienced throughout October which  ultimately made the recent news of lockdown take 2 a hard pill to swallow. I felt progress and I was able to experience little snippets of normality which actually made me realise how much I'd missed them! Now it feels like the slate has been wiped clean and we're back to square one. But here we are all and as hard as the current circumstances may be to comprehend, we have to keep on pushing on. We can't change the situation we're in and I most definitely refuse to let it get the better of me.

Rediscovering Your Happy Places

It feels somewhat overwhelming to think how much has changed since I last wrote on here a mere 3 weeks ago but such is 2020 life. As Manchester finds itself in tier 3 as of last Friday, there is a real sense that nothing is ever really that certain right now and making plans for the future (or simply next week) is stress inducing work. Luckily and completely unintentionally we'd planned quite a lot of "normal"-ish activities into the last two weeks prior to heading into tier 3 including a trip to Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and a very fleeting stay in Cornwall, our only holiday of the year for which I've never felt so grateful (holiday photos and blog post to follow soon). But that's just it with every plan you chance to make this year, it feels almost risky to set your heart on it actually happening! In fact for my own piece of mind I've found it better to look on plans as "yet to be confirmed" until the day before and as pessimistic as this may seem, its probably the most logical way of thinking. If there's one thing we've all learnt from 2020 is that plans don't just change, they can very easily be cancelled all together. Weddings, festivals, holidays, no matter how big the event may be nothing is set in stone and if you let it, this can send you a touch stir crazy. By October on a "normal" year I would have made numerous trips to London, had a few little weekend UK breaks with Joe and Pep, as well as possibly a overseas holiday. I realise in hindsight how much of luxury this was and the idea of a casual staycation away in the UK now seems like dreaming big (Cornwall actually felt like a completely different country)! But as much as I miss the travel and the excitement of somewhere new, it's not all doom and gloom in staying in one spot. One thing I have to thank this year for is it's ability to make me appreciate home much more, whether I wanted to or not. I've found a new lease of enthusiasm for my home town, a much stronger love for my happy places and a whole new understanding of what "home" actually means. 

Snap Happy and Find Joy

Hello me again. You know you've not been posting nearly enough when you feel the need to introduce yourself on your own blog! But in a year when life has thrown us all a case load of lemons, I found it really difficult to read the room and understand what feels relevant to talk about on here for both myself and those reading it (if there's any of you still out there). Uncertainty seems like the hot word to describe most people's feelings towards the current situation and believe me, I'm definitely not the anomaly on that front. Without sounding a touch melodramatic I started to feel like I'd lost my voice for discussing anything on here with true enthusiasm, speaking as candidly as I can I was just sort of coasting by on autopilot. Much like many others out there I feel like I've had a year of extreme low's teamed with a few weeks of nothingness and a couple of not too high, highs thrown in. But that's just it, maybe quite a few of this year's highs aren't exactly what I would deem highlights on any other "normal" year (whatever normal means) but it's important to recognise them all the same. I guess one solid lesson I have taken from the horror show that is 2020 is that you really do have to seek out the little things that bring you joy where you can. Granted "seeking" might on some weeks feel more like “extensively hunting down” but I promise from trying my hardest over the last few weeks, there really is happiness to be found in the smallest of achievements. 

Top Of The Town- The La Di Da Collection

It's been far too long since I last checked in on here and over the next few weeks I'm going to make it my mission to get typing again. When I glance over my last few posts, it would seem that I'm only encouraged to write when discussing either books or Top Of The Town, which funnily enough feels like a pretty accurate summary of my entire year. Truth be told, it's been pretty challenging to think of varied topics to write about when in actual fact reading and collecting vintage have definitely been the two things which have truly kept me occupied! And so I hope you'll excuse me if I break my blog silence with another post on the next Top Of The Town collection. It's my favourite time for style and I think this is potentially my favourite TOTT collection yet, so as you can imagine I'm pretty keen to discuss it!

Top Of The Town- Paint Palette Collection

As we come speeding into August, so does Top Of The Town's brand new "Paint Palette" vintage collection and I promise you, there's no chance you can miss it! This summer has been a real rollercoaster of a ride; plans have been cancelled, face masks are the unexpected must have accessory and my fellow Northerners will understand the heartbreak of continuous days of grey, rainy weather. With all of these slight obstacles in our way, it's tough to feel positive about summer and so I wanted to ensure this collection was in high spirits and high colour. As a last hurrah to summer style this is a collection which makes a bold statement with bright colour combinations, vibrant patterns and retro summer shapes to make any vintage lover go weak at the knees and I hope, put a little smile on everyone's face.

Book Club- Books By Black Authors To Read Right Now

Hello and welcome to another instalment of my blog's Book Club which is fast becoming my favourite thing to type about. I was actually aiming to have a new Book Club post up every two or three months and with my last post published not too long ago, this one probably seems a little early. I really wanted to this post up as soon as possible because it looks at a particular topic we should all hopefully be exploring right now. In this instalment I wanted to discuss a number of incredible books specifically by black authors. The last few months have been so educative for many of us on the issue of BLM and as I continue to inform myself on this topic, I wanted to make sure I'm sharing my resources as much as possible with you guys. As an avid reader one of the most effective ways I've found to truly educate myself is to make the extra effort to diversify my reading list. No one is saying you have to exclusively read factual books in order to truly learn, personally I struggle reading outside of fiction and I've found it ends up being a real counterproductive use of my time because what I read doesn't always seem to stick. There are plenty of incredible fiction books available out there for you to grasp of a real understanding of race and allyship. Here is a look at some contemporary books which I personally feel you should read right now...