Links Of London- Timeless After Time

Truth be told I'm a sucker for habits, routine and uniform. In both my personal style and my lifestyle, familiarity is always best. So many pieces of my clothes and jewellery hold sentimental value and so many of my favourite places have a nostalgia them that I hold so dear it's priceless. I think that's a huge reason to why I adore my home town of Manchester and certain little nooks within it so much! I have too many happy (ok... and possibly a few sad) memories dotted around this city that make it just so very special to me. And the older I get, the more lovely memories within Manchester I collect. One of my all time favourite pass times when I'm having a down day is to sit in on of my usual Manchester cafe's with a coffee in hand and gaze out the window. The amount of times I will have probably looked at that same view I'm staring out on to is countless but it never gets old because there's that comforting familiarity to it that you can only find from your home. 
My style has exactly the same ideology. I tend to stick to the same shopping habits and the same styling formulas. The one's I feel comfortable and familiar with. Just like my Manchester memories, I seem to be continuously collecting the same pieces which all follow a similar aesthetic to one another.  And it's not just clothes I do this with, it's right down to the jewellery I wear. I'm sure you'll have guessed by now how much I love vintage and with my jewellery I strictly tend to wear just nostalgic pieces which look like the came right out of my mum's or grandmother's jewellery box (some of them often did originate for just those places). I constantly look for the type of pieces which look like they've stood the test of time... Enter Links Of London's Timeless Collection
The Timeless Collection is pretty much spot on to my jewellery style- classic pieces which are completely vintage inspired... To be more specific they're inspired by Big Ben's face, now you can't get a time piece more vintage than that can you? And one of the biggest selling points for me is not only does it have the "nostalgic" element I love so much, it's completely wearable from day to day.
The Yellow Gold Vermeil Necklace is a circular pendent design you've probably seen me wear over time and time again, which is exactly why I was drawn to it this particular piece. I'm obsessed with circular design pendents because they bring to mind a classic locket and I love the idea of such a sweet, old school jewellery design being given a modern twist. Plus it's a staple jewellery piece, you'll practically live in as it goes with pretty much every outfit. From a tea dress in summer, to a chunky knit in winter to one of my all time favourite outfits/uniforms- dungarees and a stripe tee. The Vermeil necklace, just gives your outfit that little bit of sentimentality it deserves, making it even more personal to you!
To match the necklace I've worn the Yellow Gold Stud Earrings and Vermeil Toggle Bracelet- The nice thing about both of these pieces is of simple the designs are which makes them completely wearable together as a set without looking over the top. The designs are delicate and super classic (the Toggle Bracelet in particular is one of Links Of London's classic designs, you'll see time and time again) but the cut work detail gives them that vintage, ornate feel and they could quite easily be mistaken for family heirlooms passed down from generation to generation... Something I'm a stickler for! 

Old style habits die hard but as long as they look as lovely as Links Of London's Timeless Collection, I think I'm ok with that.

Sophia x

Shop the full Collection below:

Gola X Liberty Arts Fabric- Back To Black

We've hit September which means we're officially treading on Autumn territory and I don't know about you but I'm having a tough time completely letting go of summer dressing. There's definitely an autumnal feeling in the air yet as the weather stays moderately warm it's hard to fully commit to digging out my winter coats and chunky knits. Earlier on in the year I spoke about Gola's collaboration with Liberty Print and how it was the perfect transitional shoe from winter into summer. Well funnily enough I'm finding out that a Gola X Liberty Arts Fabric trainer is in fact equally perfect for your summer to winter transitional wardrobe too! Well done Gola! And here's why...

Two key factors to summer dressing are (for me) floral and gingham... In fact let's be frank, it's not just me absolutely NO ONE has been able to avoid gingham this summer. Which I was well and truly on board with. But there's no reason why this pattern can't be carried through into the early parts of Autumn, it's all about choosing your checks carefully. I've found that if I go for more classic, wardrobe staples such as a gingham flared trousers or a check flannel shirt, your right on the money for autumn dressing. All that's left to do is team it with a light weight jumper, your favourite cropped kick flare or a classic plimsole and you won't look like your holding on to summer for all it's might. You'll look like your embracing autumn with open arms.

I think the next big step is choosing your colours wisely. For spring I choose my Gola Liberty Print trainers in a light, fresh pastel pink which unfortunately won't bode well for your autumn wardrobe nor the weather. Trying going back to classic monochrome with your florals, as seen with my choose of black and white Gola Coaster Trainers in this post. And this rule applies to your gingham also. I know we've been spoilt for choice this summer with every gingham tone possible but the classic design is white and black so let's just pull it back to basics so your look is not just seasonless but also timeless. 

Speaking of timeless pieces, you can't go wrong with buying into your knitwear collection early and I'm finding a lot of high street stores are agreeing with me on this, as they are all dropping their best cables knits as we speak. The perfect Aran knitwear is hard to come by so I would always advise to hunt it down early. Furthermore Cable knit it's a match made in heaven with floral for the earthy, relaxed, "I'm just going on a casual autumn stroll" kind of vibe. Weather your floral is in a flippy style vintage skirt or like me, in a casual plimsole, cable will sit in with your outfit nicely. 

Floral takes on such a big part of my wardrobe through summer, it's too hard to even try and replace it in winter so instead let's change it up and carry it through. 

I'm going back to black but not as you know it.

Sophia x

You can shop the entire Gola X Liberty Arts Fabric below:

And you can shop the rest of my look here:

Lifestyle- So Let's Make Time Work For Us.

We've all heard the term "work-life balance" more than enough times and to be honest it used to kind of make my eyes roll a little. It's often a subject we see in glossy magazines, "how to create the perfect work-life balance", the joys and the importance of it. I used to think this wasn't a difficult concept to get your head around. I'd come home from work and I'd switch off. I'd have the down time I needed and my weekends were strictly my own. As the years have gone by that balance has slowly but surely become off kilter and what was once easily done, is now a impossible task.

The fact of the matter is I never stop working. The irony of it all is, I started blogging because I was unhappy in my job at the time. My blog grew and it became a job in itself... Which albeit was always the goal, but now I find myself in a compromising position. See you I've long since left that job I was more then obliging to switch off from as soon as I stepped out of the office door. I now work for a company I love, with a team I adore! I care in equal measures about both my blog and my "9 to 5" job and this lovely position to be in has become the demise of MY own down time. I go to work all day, I come home and I work on my blog. Emails are taking over my life to put it bluntly. At weekend's I shoot and I write. That used to be the perfect set up! But now as it all seems to be hotting up with my blog, I psychically can't keep up. You know when your mum used to say "there aren't enough hours in the day"... Yeh she wasn't kidding.

So for the past few months now I've been trying to keep up with work- not life- just work and only by the skin of my teeth. But because I loved both my jobs so much, this never felt like a sacrifice (again, I'm well aware this is such a lovely/lucky position to be in) and I did it without question. Until recently, dun DUN DUUUUN... You see without completely patronising you, I think we are all in agreement that enough stress and enough pressure in your life is like a simmering pot and if it keeps building up and building up, it will eventually boil over. With or without your control. This analogy effectively sums up how I feel right now. I'm at boiling point. 

I was putting more and more pressure on myself. I was continuously telling myself I could do this and I had it all under control to the point that when I didn't, I almost criticised myself for it. You are only one person and there is truly only so much you can do. It reached a point only a couple of weeks ago when enough was enough. I'd been travelling here, there and everywhere. You'd have been mistaken for thinking Planes, Trains and Automobiles was a biopic of my life. I was still answering emails and working away all the while, train by train. I'd find myself up until the early hours typing away and then I'd be up at 7am the next day ready for work. FYI, you know that whole idea about needing eight hours sleep? I learned the hard way- that's an actual thing. So after about a month or so of none stop madness, I woke up at 5am one morning ready to get the train down to London for a shoot and whilst on the train I started to answer emails... Because remember at this point emails are life. I had this really weird feeling at the back of my mind, something wasn't right.

My boyfriend had been telling me that for the past few weeks I'd not been my normal self and on this particular day travelling down to London, he was super honest with me and told me I was, for want of a better term, being kind of a massive bitch... Ouch. To be fair, he had a point I'd spent the last few weeks under a lot of pressure and was a tad touchy to say the least. Subsequently I'd taken it out on the one person closest to me and unfortunately that was my boyfriend. I was snap, snap, snappy central. So anyway... back to the story... My boyfriend delivered me a nice slice of home truth and all the while I'll trying to concentrate on emails and contracts and shuffling my calendar around. I hop off the train and rush to my shoot with Joe's words looming over me like Manchester rain clouds. I do my shoot, continuing to be Mrs "I'm So Happy, Life Is Good" (again I'm not being to patronise you with the facade that can sometimes be social media, but needless to say good is NOT always good just because Instagram tells you it is) whilst simultaneously going over in my head a million things I need to do when I get home and the guilt I felt towards my poor boyfriend. I leave the shoot and I rush quickly back to Euston to get my train home and what happens? My body decides it's hit a brick wall and I have a panic attack. Yay, excellent!! That's just what I need right now, let me check my diary to see if I'd had that pencilled in...

Memo to me: Work-life balance is ACTUALLY important. In hindsight the panic attack was inevitable and like that simmering pot, it was just waiting to boil over at any point. More over, it scared the SHIT out of me (excuse my french). Please understand, that as a rule I'm not necessarily an anxious person, I can be a little bit of a crank (sorry Joe) but for all intents and purposes I'm pretty steady. I've experienced anxiety very closely within my family but it's something I've been very lucky to not have to deal with personally, so to start having panic attacks is a daunting prospect to me and raised one hell of an alarm. I feel like I opened the flood gates and the past few weeks have been a little challenging to say the least. Something has to give. 

I really, really don't want to start harping on to you about the importance of "me" time because I know we've all heard it before but if I'm anything to go by, I worry that for a lot of people this concept goes in one ear and out the other. So at the the risk of contradicting myself within the same breath... I'm here to tell you, "You" time isn't just important, it's absolutely necessary. You are only one person and you're doing the best you can. I think sometimes we can get a little addicted to having complete 100% control over our lives when every now and then you have GOT to sit back and let it roll. I know it's so difficult to let go of the reins but lets all be reminded that we are working to live, not living to work (I know another eye roll inducing motivational concept). I say this with complete hesitation because the stigma of it still makes me cringe BUT work-life balance is imperative and I'm certainly warming to the idea of it. It's so easy for work/education to feel like the be all and end all, it can get on top of you without you ever even realising. I'm not saying every evening, leave work at 5pm and do NOT give it another moments thought to it until 9am the next morning, it doesn't work like that. But just make a conscious effort to set time aside for you and your piece of mind. 

I know I should really practise what I preach here and it's definitely a learning curve for me but I'm getting there. I've made conscious decisions within my life to make the balance more even. Unfortunately compromises had to be made and so I'm cutting down my hours at work with the hope that maybe I can actually devote my week days evenly between both jobs and have the weekend for me. I'm learning to switch off when pressure gets a little too much and I can feel myself taking it to heart. No one will die if you don't answer an email until the following morning. I promise you. Most things can wait in priority of you and your own sense of well being. I used to be such a film geek. I used to love a Sunday in with a brew and a pile of magazines or getting far too engrossed in a book and somewhere along the line I lost that through being too preoccupied. I'm slowly making the conscious effort to go back to that. I making myself read at night... "Making" is probably to the wrong term, as it's something I want to do but I'd just forgotten that I did. If that makes sense? I'm having PJ days when I want PJ days, because you know what? It's a Sunday and I've earned it. I'm learning to put my phone away for the love of God. The fear of missing out should not apply to Instagram. I'm learning to actually spend time with my boyfriend and not just be in each others company but actually value it. And most importantly, taking time away from work is ironically helping me to remember why I love doing what I do in the first place. Instead of feeling like I've GOT to do this, I've remembered that I actually WANT to do it. Remember  the other week when I was talking about how hard I'd work to be where I was? I'm not about to start resenting that!

Everything I type out about "me" time, I find myself deleting because it either sounds to cliche and cheesy or incredibly condescending! But maybe that's because the notion of "me" time is so blindly obvious we shouldn't have to remind each other to enjoy it. A cliche is a cliche for a reason. So at the risk of sounding like a MASSIVE cornball... Step back and be you. For like an hour at least once a day. Go meet your friend for a coffee and a moan (and cake, lots of cake), go shopping not because you necessarily need something but because you fancy a little browse, go to yoga, the gym or on a run, go on a walk, put your headphones in and listen to your favourite band, go sit in a quiet room and get stuck into your favourite magazine oooor nosey at your favourite blogger/vlogger... Not to self promote but my blog is always open to you and your "me" time. In some ways I'm thankful I hit boiling point because it made me go back to basics and remind myself that my life should be about me a little more. I'm not saying I'm suddenly a whole new person and switching off is a breeze but I'm getting there. I'm learning to back off every so often and I'm more than happy to do so...

She says typing away at this post on a Sunday.

Sophia x 

Shop My Look Below:

Style Inspiration- Send Me Something Sunset Coloured

If you've been nosing enough at my Instagram this summer, you'll have noticed there's one colour which keeps popping up on my feed... I say "popping up" literally because it's the one tone certain to make anyone's wardrobe do just that... Pop, pop, pop! It's yellow. And Lord knows how difficult it was for me to NOT call this post "Yellow, is it me your looking for?"... Sorry Lionel! As an ex colourphob, who only just recently converted her wardrobe from neutral tones such as black, cream and navy into every colour under the sun, I know first hand yellow can often seem like the most daunting of all the tones to style. It's often loud, a little brash and the brightest of brights, however I'm hear to tell you yellow is SO much more than that!

I think we often associate it as a "summer" colour and rightly so, it's the sunshine tone bound to set any outfit in the direction of "sunny side up". Especially this summer, you really haven't been able to escape yellow. Ever since we all watched La La Land and swooned over Emma Stone swishing around in THAT yellow dress, we've all been eagerly awaiting for better weather so we can follow style suit... So yes, yellow and summer go together like lemon and meringue, BUT it's my personal believe it shouldn't and needn't be restricted to just the sunnier season! When I think of yellow within spring/summer, I think more sherbet tones. Light, airy and zesty! I think floaty chiffons, delicate crocheted knits, dainty floral patterns or Dolce and Gabbana style fruit dresses... And that's totally spot on! It's exactly the kind of summer look I've spent the last few months trying to channel! But yellow as a transitional colour takes on an entirely different agenda...

Most obviously, the tones of yellow are the complete opposite to those sherbet shades we see in summer. As we approach winter I've been leaning more towards super vibrant mustards, so rich it almost boarders on burnt orange! Which, FYI is another favourite of mine, so it's a win/win situation. Now for me there's two ways to really style yellow... or if we're being pedantic mustard, for your transitional/autumn wardrobe and both are completely retro inspired. Would you really expect anything less from me? 

Firstly, I've started teaming my mustards with burgundies, greens and navy for a real autumnal feel... I know it's a little premature for Autumn dressing but the weather truly hasn't been on our side this summer so we might as well embrace it. The best way to get a real mixture of these colours together is via super sixties style paisley prints for a dreamy "Woodstock" kind of vibe. I'm already seeing a lot of this print on the high street. I'd advise heading over to And Other Stories who currently have THE most perfect paisley design used in a blouse, mini and midi style dress! If paisley is a little too fussy and a touch too close to "winter wardrobe" for you I've also been cultivating my collection of retro style stripes ready for my transitional wardrobe. As with paisley, I'm loving the mixture of tones. Washed out yellows, reds and oranges seen in vintage style stripes can be worn in summer with stone washed jeans, right through into Autumn with a suede mini skirt or corduroy overalls. Either way you'll be completely smashing that "Almost Famous", "I'm with the band" seventies style!

My second styling for mustard is a little more boyish and a little less whimsical than the "California Dreaming'" inspiration of retro stripes and paisley patterns. Think more sixties minimal and team your mustard with bold black graph tees and accessories. I love yellow as a block colour and the NA-KD faux leather skirt photographed in this post is perfect for creating this look. Personally I feel it's a little easier to incorporate into your every day wardrobe than the first, more extreme seventies styling. If a mustard skirt is too much for you, how about a chunky knit? Or blouse? Topshop in particular is really channeling both of these pieces at the moment in Yolk Yellow and it's such an easy, peasy, lemon squeezy way of adding a touch of yellow into any outfit. My brand of the moment/year is Ganni who, in my opinion are the Holy Grail of graphic tees. They've been featuring a lot of yellow tones in their designs over the past few months, up until very recently. From croissants and lemons, to Orange juice and hot dogs laden with mustard... If you're a lover of food they probably have the T-shirt for you and with only a touch of colour, they're a happy compromise into adding just the teeniest touch of yellow into your outfit!

I know it's so easy to feel a little "yellow bellied" and scared of adding this tone into your wardrobe. It's certainly taken me a while to pluck up the courage but if you felt like you couldn't get away from it in summer, it certainly doesn't look like winter is going to be any different! So maybe it's time to give in and take the plunge! If someone with as impeccable taste as Wes Anderson can feel the need to have yellow appear in almost every single one of his film's colour palettes (see Suzy in Moonrise Kingdom for ALL the mustard inspiration) then I'm sure you can find a reason to incorporate it into your wardrobe this Autumn... 

Give it a try and in no time at all you'll be as keen as mustard...

Sophia x

For more style inspiration check out my Pinterest board or shop my look below:

Thank you to Mini Mansions/Alex Turner for the perfect title.
And Rosie Butcher for the perfect photography.