Topshop Trend- All Your Dresses Are Made Of Strawberry Lemonade

As SS17 collections have started to hit down in the stores over the passed couple of weeks, there is no denying we are in for a pretty fashion spectacular summer! My selection of favourite trends so far to name a few are; gingham, gingham and oh...more gingham, statement T-shirts still coming through loud and proud, and of course in true Sophia (who am I kidding... Birkin) style basket bags. However there's one trend in particular which Topshop is channeling oh so perfectly at the moment and I, for one just can't get enough of... Think Pink! Yes that's right simply pink! No complicate concepts, no avant grade ideas or ultra contemporary clothing hybrids... Just pink. They're brought this colour to the forefront in various patterns, materials and shaped dresses, and I adore it. It's pink to make the boys wink this season and than some. Pink can often be given a bad reputation, conjuring images of a stereotype "tween" girly girl who's just GOT to have everything in bubblegum pink. Sickly shades of fascia and magenta relegated to bad swimwear and vivid hot pink for your typical hen do in Blackpool. This is NOT the pink we're talking about it. Instead Topshop has opted for subtle pastel shading such as blush, rose and dusky. And oh my, they are just so easy on both your eyes and your wardrobe. Think the summer freshness of pink lemonade and you're on the right track.

The beauty of dusky/blush pink shades is this; they suit everyone. Whether your blonde, brunette, tanned or pale as pale can be, dusky pink will suit you. In fact (not to rub it in to all you pale and interesting beauties' faces) but in my humble opinion it's one of the best colours to accommodate a tan, thus making it a no brainer for summer. Nothing says a sunny day out and about, like throwing on your favourite pretty tea dress and sandals. So care free and heading out the door without another moments thought. It's just that this year Topshop have made finding that perfect pink tea dress just that little bit easier. 

To make life even more easy for you, I've taken the liberty of picking out a couple of my personal favourites for you... I know, I'm so kind aren't I? Shopping Topshop for you! It's a tough job but I was willing to take one for the team. The first on my list is the pink slip photographed above. I picked this one because the slip keeps coming back season, after season and it's earned its place as a firm wardrobe staple. The button down detailing and tie straps make it a great piece to be worn solo, however I've teamed mine with a pretty knitted crochet T-shirt layered underneath. I'm a huge fan of a white tee under a slip (as you guys have probably seen a million times on my Instagram) but I felt like the crochet (of which I'm also a huge fan of) gives the look a more high summer, "floaty" and "feminine" vibe. As per usual I've added my trusty Converse because a floaty slip and sneakers (ok, sorry, trainers to us Brits) reminded me of a kind of Virgin Suicides aesthetic and I'm more than happy to channel that look.

The second pick is the pink tea dress photographed below. I absolutely love this shape and it's one which Topshop have championed for years, making it a timeless piece you can pull out over and over again, decades later (see Kate Moss Tea dresses as proof)! It's the kind of dress which can style you for a multitude of occasions; from brunch dates, to a night on the tiles, to festivals. All you need to do is switch your footwear and you've hit the nail on the head. I normally opt for a espadrille or a dainty sandal with mine, but with the below I've gone for a Mary-Jane style shoe from the Molly Goddard Topshop range. Favoured by myself because they look like they came straight out of Marianne Faithfull's wardrobe circa 1965. I don't need to tell you guys how much I love silver footwear as I've been preaching this to you for years. But what I will say is metallic silver and dusky pink are a picture perfect combination, giving the age old girly shade a contemporary twist. Both, I'd be so bold as to say are definite investment pieces.

Whether you've been a long standing advocate of pink or you're a new recruit, dresses are the way to go with this typically feminine trend. I promise they will make for an easy, accessible high summer outfit, keeping you light and breezy in the hottest of heat. On Fridays we wear pink... And throughout the whole of May, June and July.

Sophia x

Shop My Topshop Looks

If You're Leaving Will You Take Me With You?

Hi my name's Sophia (pictured below), I'm from Manchester, I'm a blogger, I have a dog called Bluebell and a cat called Evie. I have a boyfriend called Joseph (also pictures below) and he's a drummer in a real life band on the run i.e. they've travelled to more countries in the past year alone than you and I have had hot dinners. That last little detail mentioned about my life is always met without fail, by either one of two reactions; "Oh wow, that must be so exciting for you?" or- and this one's the more popular choice- "Oh wow, that must be so hard for you?". Seriously, I kid you not, those two reactions are as regular as clockwork. If I had a pound for every time I'd been asked one of those two questions, well let's just say I'd be the very proud owner of a Chanel 2.55 bag. I've still not quite figured out what the right, socially acceptable response to either reaction is supposed to be. I guess the fact of the matter is, people have no idea but they've unknowingly asked a loaded question with a complicated answer and I'm not about to turn a fleeting conversation with a stranger or a quick catch up with an old friend into my very own therapy session. Just for the record, I normally smile and for an easier life simply reply, "sometimes".

I guess I should explain the reason why I wanted to write this post for starters. I've always been a little cautious about penning down too much about my relationship, maybe it felt a little too close to home to want to share. Instead I've always opted on the subject of relationships to talk in hindsight, mainly because you learn far better lessons from events you can reflect back on, rather than those happening right in front of you. Like they say "hindsight is a wonderful thing". And after all I'm a firm believer in my personal life being just that, personal. But truth be told, I've always felt a twinge of hypocrisy when I try to write about real or honest subjects in order to help or inspire and yet I never really mention what's going on in my "now". I feel like it would be totally disingenuous of me to talk about "everything being ok", when half of the time that's true and the other half I really struggle. Right now felt like a better time than any to come clean and be a little more truthful because right now I'm feeling the burn.

To give you a brief idea, my boyfriend is away more than he's home. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's a 80/20 split. And at the moment he's been away for two weeks, with another two weeks to go. Doesn't sound that bad? Before he'd left on this four week stint, I had him home for approximately 17 hours. Nap and you could have missed him. From the start of our relationship, this has always pretty much been the set up, with the days apart only growing wider and wider. In all honesty, you only know what you know. We've been lucky enough to never have had it any other way or to really grasp what we're missing, but I'd certainly be lying if I said it was a breeze. It's not, it's tough.

When most couples start out, they spend a long time trying to figure out how the other one works, how they can adapt and compromise to fit, swap and jig saw together their two lives. For myself and Joe this simply isn't possible and you're often burdened with this feeling of being left behind. The fear of missing out, is a horrible feeling to have about the one person you want to feel 100% connected to and for a long time I thought this was completely one sided for my part, which made it even more difficult to bear. I would watch Joe go to all these amazing places, experience all these incredible opportunities and I would be in the distance, detached from it all. I felt worlds apart from understanding what he was going through, but with time I learned this just wasn't the case. It sounds so simple and obvious to type back but as Joe was leaving, it never occurred to me that maybe he felt the same. He was leaving behind his home, his friends and his family. He was missing out on just as much as I was and I guess- comforting is the wrong word- but realising I wasn't in this alone made the pill a little easier to swallow.

It wasn't just a sense of being left behind from his world, it was everything that was happening around me. You feel like your whole life is a waiting game revolving around someone else and your needs are forced to take a backseat. Everyone else carries on around you like normal and you're left filling the gaps, counting down the days. Instances like your birthday or a party, a wedding or a seasonal holiday are spent alone and there's nothing wrong with that unless you've got someone, somewhere in the world you'd prefer to be spending it with. We all know the feeling, it's just for me it's a constant. As mentioned above, for the best part of our relationship I only know what I know and therefore the majority of the time it never phases me. Other times, say like when you're fed up, you've had a bad day or you feel isolated and all you want to do is bury you head in your boyfriends chest so he can tell you everything going to be ok, saying goodbye is not so easy. I sound so whiney and that's completely not the point of this post but I guess you can't explain a long distance relationship (can I call it that?) without explaining both sides. With the rough comes the smooth...

If it wasn't for Joe and the relationship we have, I would without a doubt not even come close to being the person I am today. Time apart allows you the chance to become sure of yourself, learn who you are and put your priorities in gear. I've been there before where by you're so reliant on someone else for your happiness and it's such a toxic place to be. Having Joe away as much as he is, has forced me to well and truly break out of that habit and learnt to make me happy for me. I often wonder, if Joe gave it all up tomorrow and started your standard Monday to Friday job, would it work? I've become so self reliant and I've learned to monopolise my time alone, would I even have the room to see him more than I do? I quickly learnt our relationship didn't mean I had to consume my life waiting around, instead I had the ability to be completely selfish where necessary. I had a clear opportunity to work on other aspects of my life I just wasn't quite satisfied in. I want to make in abundantly clear that this rule doesn't just apply to "Long distance" relationships (more that, being in one is how I've discovered the rule), it's applicable to everyone. Your own sense of "me" time, is so incredibly important. Learn to be self-sufficient.

Moreover I found that not only am I now more sure of myself, our absence from each other's day to day life subsequently meant we had absolutely no choice but to be sure in one another. A long distance relationship can simply not work if you have any form of doubt in the other person. It's kind of ironic but being away from Joe as much as I am, has only shown just how much faith and trust we hold in one another. Why wouldn't we trust one another? What would be the point in any of this if we couldn't? Being apart gives you a serious appreciation of the other person. What others take for granted, is a complete novelty for you. Over Christmas we had a whole week together, yup that's right, ONE WHOLE WEEK and it actually felt like we had to adjust. Don't get me wrong, I adored every minute of us being together but we're so used to our time being limited, normality felt abnormal.

I guess you quickly weed out the trivialities when you're pressed for time. When you haven't seen each other in four weeks and you've got two days together, the last thing you want to do is argue. It's not rocket science, it's just common sense. You find yourself questioning the little things, that ordinarily- if over thought- could turn into the big things. There simply just isn't time for that. I've done it before, we've argued, he's gone and I'm left to sit back, think about it and regret. The little things which matter so much in the present, really don't matter at all when in the past. You have to learn to let them pass by that's all. Don't get me wrong, myself and Joe bicker with the best of them. The boy knows exactly how to wind me up. I'll argue with him over the phone for the most ridiculous reasons. Then I'll sit and stew over it. I'll think to myself, "God, I can't stand that little shit. I'm not backing down"... I'll think this up until the very second I'm about to see him for the first time in forever... Do you know what actually happens? I spot him and whatever trivial problem was on my mind will instantly disappear and we laugh. Because time is extremely valuable so why waste it sweating on the minor stuff?

Long distance isn't for everyone and I'm not going to argue it is, but what I will say is that absolutely anything is possible if you're doing it with the right person. I wouldn't change my relationship for the world because it's the person I'm sharing it with, not the set up. Another popular reaction I receive goes along the lines of, "you're so good to put up with him being away"... Am I putting up? That makes my relationship sound like a sacrifice and what am I sacrificing? I share my life with my best friend, my number one biggest fan and never ending support. I'm proud to be witness to everything he has achieved and equally I know he is proud of me. There is absolutely zero sacrifice in my life and zero reasons to ever truly feel alone. I'm not a bloody martyr let's be real, I'm kind of lucky.

True love is alive and well and it's located in Stockport, Greater Manchester or half way across the world (tour bus dependent).

Sophia x

Photographs by Joseph Donovan.

Fat Face Spring Summer Collection- Layer Lady, Lay

Did everyone witness the insanely beautiful weather we had last weekend? No it wasn't in your imagination, it really did happen. Blink and you'd have missed it as we all woke up on Monday morning to our regular grey skies, like the weekend's sun was just a wonderful dream. Ironically, last weekend I was shooting in Lyme Park for this very post you're reading and the style concept I was going for was around Fat Face's perfect new Spring/Summer collection and how British summertime is all about layering... On the one weekend layering was no necessary. But last weekend's weather is sadly behind us and therefore my post on how to dress for English summer is yet again relevant so that's at least one positive I can take from our unwelcome dreary weather returning... That and I got to wear some pretty lovely clothes.

I decided to shoot for this post around Lyme Park because it amazes me that this beautiful location is literally a 5 minute drive from my house and yet I would never think to use it as a back drop for my blog photography... Until now. I guess you can't get more quintessentially British than the grounds of a manor house (featured in the Nineties adaptation series of Pride and Prejudice, FYI) in the middle of the Peak District and so it seemed like a no brainer to use it as a perfect example of how and why we should dress "English weather" proof over summer (despite it being 18 degrees when I shoot the photos, moving on...).

The truth of the matter is we don't really see that much bright and beautiful weather in our summers. A week or two tops maybe, here and there. But if you're anything like me you will still insist on using your summer weeks to explore the great outdoors whether it's via weekend walks, British festivals or simply eating "Alfresco". It's like it's ingrained in us as Brits to "make the most" of our summers even when they're... Well, not that summery. I feel like being that I'm Mancunian and having had to deal with rain pretty much all my life, I'm extremely experienced in completely underestimated the summer weather forecast and in turn having the worst summer wardrobe mishaps. White denim in a heavy down pour, floaty dresses in gale force winds and Birkenstock's in a thunderstorm. You name it, I've done it and what can I say I've learned a lot of from each misjudgement...

The trick to styling English summer lies within two small and slightly obvious details; layering and denims. It sounds like such a Mum thing to say, "are you wearing layers because it will get chilly later" but as per usual Mums are always right. My ideal outfit for a Birtish festival is always denim dungarees. Stoned wash denim is undoubtedly made for summer, but dungarees will allow you to layer up with a T-shirt/sweater underneath and a jumper on top too if needs be. I've teamed my dungarees in this post with a gorgeous woollen crochet sweater... Again if there was ever a type of woollen made for summer is was the crochet kind and it's actually warm! You win on both accounts of looking super, summer ready whilst actually being comfortable and cosy. There is nothing worse than being stood in a field with a soggy paper cup full of flat cider, pretending to enjoy a band but secretly praying they would hurry up because it's absolutely freezing, you're pretty sure you've acquired frost bite and you might have to come to terms with loosing a toe... Maybe even a limb... Who knows, you're so cold right now that you can't think straight. It's horrible. Layering will forever save the day.

If denim dungarees don't float your boat; A) we probably can't be friends anymore BUT B) There is another denim/layer alternative which I love equally as much and is maybe just a touch more summery than their denim relative. The denim pinafore. It's my personal belief this is a wardrobe necessity to be worn all year round. Weather you're planning on teaming it with a classic breton top, a vintage blouse or a real favourite of mine at the moment, floral jersey, a denim pinafore will give the outfit a sweet, girly twist. They're comfy and they never go out of style. I love the one photographed in this post from Fat Face with the tie front detailing and pockets (every girl loves a dress with pockets right?). The tie front and pockets give the dress a seventies, vintage, almost "grown up" feel to it, that I'm a big fan of. Complete the outfit of with my signature Converse vibes and this outfit has a perfect amount of both girly and boyish charm to it, which will see you through English summers for the next 10 years (please don't hold me to that). Stone wash denim will forever be the cheat's way to dress for British summer and I have no problem with being that cheat.

Lastly, no English summer or festival for that matter would be complete without a reliable raincoat layered over the top of any and (sadly) every outfit. I love the idea of primary coloured macs. There's something really old fashioned, endearing and kind of kitsch about it. Like you're an extra from Singing In The Rain. That's why I opted for this vibrant mustard yellow design from Fat Face, surprisingly it goes with everything and I feel like if you have to wear a raincoat (again, I'm from Manchester so YES you most definitely have to), you might as well embrace it in the most fun, loud and proud way possible. If your days not filled with sunshine, at least your coat can be. Besides this should be the number one item of everyones festival survival kit list. It's practically compulsory.

Yes, Britain definitely has the raw end of the deal when it comes to summertime weather but as long as you learn to accept it (yes, that means resigning to the fact not every single one of your prettiest summer dresses is going to get a look in this year), embrace it and learn to dress for it than there is absolutely no reason you should have feel the need to miss out. Layer up, ladies, layer and lets make the most of our summer.

Sophia x

Shop My Fat Face Looks Below:

Gola Classic x Liberty Art Fabric- Flowers On The Soles Of Her Shoes

Is it just me or when we all moved our clocks forward did it suddenly feel like the seasons had cranked it up gear and moved forwards too? It feels like winter was never going to leave our sides and than all of a sudden spring has sprung and with it, there's a almighty spring in my step. Yes all that sunshine and extra vitamin D is most definitely putting my mood into higher sprits but it's something else that's getting me all giddy for the spring/summer season... My spring wardrobe and moreover my spring footwear! *throws 80 denier tights over my shoulder, like I don't have a care in the world*
I'm sure by now you've all figured out, I'm a big fan of a plimsole and all year round I attempt to keep them on my feet. Albeit soggy, rained on feet from September through to February. As in denial about it as I am, plimsoles were MADE for spring. Light, comfortable and perfect teamed with your favourite floral tea dress or stone washed jeans. They give any outfit that classic, timeless, "Francis Baby Houseman" look I'm so very fond of/obsessed with. But this year, my feet just got even MORE spring-o-fied (Oxford are you reading this? There's a new word right there to add to your dictionary) as the lovely folk at Gola have had the ingenious idea to team up with the equally lovely folk at Liberty's and create a collection of spring ready, floral patterned Gola classics. It's a match made in shoe heaven.
If I'm being entirely truthful I always find this time of year a touch awkward to dress for. You never know whether you're coming or going. We feel in limbo between saying farewell to winter and desperately wishing it was closer to the height of summer. The suns out but it's still a little cold around the edges and if you're anything like me, you've eagerly packed away your woollens but still can't brave wearing your prettiest summer dress. It's about finding the perfect spring wardrobe balance and that's exactly why these Liberty Print Gola's have managed to effortlessly waltz into my current wardrobe staples list all footloose and fancy free (is there any other way to waltz in floral shoes?). They are the perfect addition to a transitional outfit, adding just the right amount of colour and spring floral to any outfit without being too much of a keen- summertime -bean.
I've been teaming them with two other transitional style saviours of mine; Cropped flares and Candy Kane or (more aptly named when I edge closer to June) Deckchair stripes. A good stoned washed cropped flare or culotte eases you in gently to spring dressing, why? Because a) they allow you to avoid baring your pastey, nowhere near summer ready legs to the world whilst being super comfy and  relaxed. And b) You can still pair them with knitwear without feeling like you've resorted back to your tiresome winter wardrobe.... add Floral Gola's to the mix and you're winter style is a definite distant memory.

Candy Kane stripes are a new addiction of mine, in pretty much every colour going. I've recently become a little more cocky about wearing colour but I'm still not entirely confident with anything too bright but for some reason if I wear it in a stripe form I feel like I stay within my comfort zone. Probably because, when have stripes ever let me down? They're also a really great outfit builder for coordinating colour, for example I sported a baby blue candy cane stripe blouse, teamed it with the pink and blue floral Gola plimsoles and finished the whole outfit off with a pink satchel. They all work together really well, without one particular item over powering another. Just a nice and simple, every day look. Right up my street.

Needless to say I have every intention of wearing these Gola's straight into summer and once I feel a little braver about baring skin/my legs have been ever so slightly bronzed, these little beauties will be perfectly with a denim mini or... Better still, a cut off denim short and peasant blouse in true Baby from Dirty Dancing style... No nobody puts Baby in the corner... Or my Liberty Print floral Gola's.

Shop the entire collection below and make your transitional styling just that little bit easier:

Sophia x
Shop My Look
Blouse- ASOS
Jeans- Topshop