It had got to the point where I could no longer handle the sticky, sweaty heat of London, so last week, Alex and I decided to venture into the country lanes of Suffolk for a mid-week mini break. My aunt owns a cottage in the tiny village of Hinderclay, and it is always so nice to go there for a quick reboot. It was everything I needed, quiet, relaxing - I ended up sleeping much more than I expected! The one downside? It ended up being just as hot as London, which wasn't the best considering we were hoping to get away from the intense heat. We drove to the small town of Diss in Norfolk on the Friday morning and still didn't manage to escape the humidity. Luckily, the clean air and relaxed attitude of the country did rub off on us. I love going on long country walks, so on the Friday evening when the weather cooled down, we went for a lovely stroll through the fields around the village. It was really soothing, and the feeling of a gentle breeze lapping through your sleeves is the epitome of a Summer stroll for me. We also ventured to my favourite country restaurant, the Leaping Hare at Wyken Vineyards. I always make a point of going there first as it's on the way to the house. If you do ever find yourself there, I highly recommend having the homemade fishcake for lunch, and then the brownie for after. Wyken vineyards is also a great place to take a stroll - I would strongly suggest you wander through the maze too, and then head into the shop afterwards for some homemade Suffolk chocolates, or a browse through their selection of books and homeware.
Denim Jumpsuit - Leon & Harper via Smallable
Blue blouse - Topshop (sale)
Denim Shorts - Vintage Levi's (via Rokit)
Trainers - Adidas
all photographs were taken on my Pentax ME super with Lomography 400 ISO film
A while back, when I had just started my blog, I wrote a post about my wonderful friend Gaby and her knack for charity shopping and bargain hunting. Since then, I have always ummed-and-ahhed over the idea of writing a post about my own love affair with bargain shopping, but I'd never really got round to planning it fully. Well, I finally have.
People who know me well know that I can never pass on an opportunity to bargain hunt, whether that be in vintage or thrift shops, charity shops, car boot sales, or just the regular high-street sales in the New Year or Summer. London is obviously a very expensive city to live in or visit as a tourist, and shopping is often no exception to that rule... unless you know the best places to visit for that great bargain. So I thought I'd share with you all some of my top places to visit for that authentic, thrifted charity-shop experience in the places you probably wouldn't suspect in the big city.
my favourite charity shop pieces & where I found them
I grew up in West London, which is an amazing hub for versatile charity shops, particularly in places like Ealing, Chiswick and Hammersmith. There's pretty much something for everyone, whether you're looking for a discounted designer purchase, or for that cheap-as-chips statement piece, I'd say West London has some of the best to offer. The East End is amazing too, but I prefer to go there for proper vintage and thrift shopping rather than to charity shops, so I'll get to that later. Below are some of my personal favourite items that I have found in some of my favourite charity shops across the West side of the city.
My cow print ankle boots. Bought for £15 in Octavia foundation in Ealing. This is one of my favourite charity shops as prices are always reasonable, and their selection of clothing always makes me feel as though I am in a vintage shop. Everything is very colourful and unique - it's a shop I highly recommend if you find yourself in Ealing (which you should because Ealing is the best).
My yellow men's Gant jeans from Fara in Chiswick. I found this unworn pair of jeans for a tenner on a whim one rainy afternoon in Spring when I was meant to be helping my friend find some clothes for herself. I love the pastel, buttercup colour of the denim, the extremely oversized fit, and the embroidery on the pocket. Fara Chiswick is another one of my favourite charity shops in West London as they always stock loads of great denim at very low prices, and all the clothing in store is colour co-ordinated, which makes shopping for something specific that much easier.
My vintage style black shoulder bag from Mary's Living & Giving in Kew. This was a brilliant purchase, as the bag is 100% real leather from Topshop and had never been worn before. This was, however, one of my pricier purchases from a charity shop, coming in at a grand total of £20 (which is still a bargain, but when you're used to most things being £15 (at a push) and under, then you have to ask yourself whether £20 is really asking too much). Mary's Living & Giving is probably the most up-market chain of charity shops I have ever been to. The Kew branch is by far the most beautiful, having been designed by someone from Kew Gardens. It feels more like an independent boutique than a charity shop! A lot of the clothing is donated by designers themselves (I drooled over a pair of Victoria Beckham limited edition jeans for £60 for a good ten minutes...), and people of a high "calibre", so the clothing you will find in the chain, specifically this branch, is going to be unlike most charity shops. Most stores donate to Save the Children, which is a brilliant charity too, so if you're really looking for something a bit more luxurious, but at a fraction of the original cost, then this is the place to go. The branch in Ealing is also brilliant.
This blush pink silk shirt from RSPCA, Ealing. Found it on a whim for a grand total of £3.50. Was a total bargain, and an item I didn't expect to stumble upon. All the labels have been cut out so I have no idea where the shirt is from, but it has fast become one of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe. It is so relaxed, flattering, and versatile - it's the perfect shirt to take you from day to night seamlessly. I love it! RSPCA in Ealing is one of my favourite charity shops, it's like walking back in time. The prices are always extremely low, and it is so easy to find vintage gems like this on a regular basis. I love charity shops that feel like they have a history, and RSPCA feels as though it hasn't changed in twenty years!
And finally, my newest wardrobe steal, this unworn pair of white Adidas classics. Found in Oxfam on Chiswick High Street for an absolute bargain - ten quid! For an unworn pair of extremely popular trainers that probably would've originally cost up to seventy quid, this was an unbelievable find. They have fast become my staple trainers, as well, as their comfort certainly matches their versatility and effortless style. Oxfam is usually a great place to look in any location, but the one in Chiswick is by far one of the best I have ever been to. The stock is always well curated and the staff are always extremely helpful and kind. The prices are also really reasonable, especially with shoes, which is where I think they always have the best variety. I also happened to find my Matisse print in this Oxfam for a decent £15, so it's definitely a great place to check regularly for random, and wonderful, bits and bobs.
Other good places to check out...
1. Cancer Research, 392 Chiswick High Road. This is one of my favourite places to shop for proper vintage at reasonably good prices. They always have an extensive collection of beautiful and bespoke coats!
2. Octavia Foundation, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge. This must be one of the best charity shops I have ever walked into for designer clothing! Barely worn All Saints leather jackets for £100, YSL heels for £60... the list is endless. This is certainly the place to go if you like labels as well as vintage, and don't want to pay any particularly eye-watering prices.
3. Traid, Shepherds Bush. A really eclectic mix of vintage and pre-loved clothing and accessories. Great place for finding some really unique hidden gems, although prices are slightly steeper than in other stores.
noun: the state of being happy.
"she struggled to find happiness in her life."
synonyms: contentment · pleasure · contentedness · satisfaction · cheerfulness · cheeriness · merriment · merriness · gaiety · joy · joyfulness · joyousness · joviality · jollity · jolliness · glee
This is something a little bit different for me, but today whilst walking through the streets I grew up in, I had a thought. I knew it would be something I had to write down, as I could barely even comprehend it myself in that moment.
As humans, we innately feel as though 'happiness' is the feeling to strive for and that it is something to be achieved in our lifetimes. But what people don't always appreciate is that happiness is not a constant state. It is a feeling that can sometimes last merely seconds, and those seconds can be extraordinary in the moment that they are felt. Happiness is not something we can achieve and keep permanently. Life is about making mistakes and learning and growing and, well, living. Happiness can therefore never be permanent as we will spend our entire lives making mistakes and learning and growing, so how can we just expect to capture an emotion or a feeling and make it permanent? It is simply impossible, and I think we need to accept as humans that this is our reality, and that is okay. Perfection does not exist, therefore happiness can never be permanent.
What we can strive for, however, is to create as happy an environment around us as possible. Being independent, surrounding ourselves with people that bring us joy and make us laugh and think, doing things that intrigue us and activate our brains - these are all things we can do to create a generally happier surrounding for ourselves. Giving ourselves the time and dedication we deserve, this is priceless.
We can all be happy people - but we can't be happy all the time, and this is just a way of life. But by giving ourselves the 'tender love and care' we so deserve, we can create a space we feel more at peace in within our lives.
What inspired me to write this post was a feeling that I experienced earlier in the day:
I was walking to my parents house from the tube station, having just met up with a new found friend for a crepe and a chat in Hammersmith. As I walked down the station parade I was suddenly overwhelmed with this sudden feeling of pure bliss. It was fleeting, only lasting a few seconds, but my God, it was really something. I could feel the sun beaming on my face, the fabric on my skin, the breeze in my hair. I was looking at these buildings that I had been looking at for twenty-one years, and it suddenly made me think: I feel really happy to be here with myself in this moment in time. I don't want to change it. Just walking here, in this far too familiar part of London, I felt really at peace. And happy. And this really made me think; moments like these, of pure bliss and peace, really affect me. In the best possible way. They remind me that no matter what is going on in your life personally, moments like this can contribute to making you feel real again. I no longer want to take things for granted that feel 'obvious' or 'familiar' - it's those small moments that can sometimes really make the difference. So I want to try something - a new segment of this blog, something I can write as and when I feel it - a small list of things that make me happy in that moment, as simple as they may be. So, here's todays list:
1. Sitting on the district line, above the ground, watching the trees skim past and feeling the sun wash over your face.
2. The feeling of a leather jacket, especially when you haven't been able to wear one for a long time. A layer like a turtle shell over my arms, my own piece of armour protecting me.
3. Lying in the grass in the height of Summer, feeling the grass on you skin, and daisies on your fingertips.
4. Ealing Common, because it's where I grew up. It will always feel like a slice of home.
5. Walking barefoot. Being able to feel the texture of the ground you're walking on, on the palms of your feet, affecting your skin.
If you've managed to get this far into the post, then thank you. x
*gear yourselves up guys, this is gonna be a long one...
Personal style. It's far more important than trends and labels and following the "moment". Your personal style is unique to you and you only. And to me, that's my greatest source of independence. The way I dress myself and the way clothes make me feel is unlike anything else. There's something so tender yet so spontaneous and sporadic in my personal style, and that's what makes it me.
Your personal style shouldn't be defined by anything other than what you really want to wear. Having said that, it's also about wearing what you feel good in. So even if you love that vintage tangerine boob tube, if you don't feel right in it, then maybe it's not the right time. It doesn't mean you'll never be able to wear it, but maybe you need some space and time before you're ready for it.
In my opinion, the greatest source of style inspiration at the moment is Instagram. It's like a pocket guide of endless pictures and is the easiest way to find those looks that make you catch your breath and think "I want that". Other great resources for inspiration are searching on Bloglovin' (I get emails from them all the time with their latest curated posts of what's what at the moment - it's brilliant. I end up saving tons of photos onto my phone that inspire me), sites such as Man Repeller and fashion blogs (my all time favourite is Shot from the Street by Lizzy Hadfield - she's so effortlessly cool, and quite frankly, a goddess of chic style), YouTube accounts such as British Vogue (I love watching their in the wardrobe videos with different celebrities and fashion icons) and ofcourse, the classic way of finding inspiration: the humble magazine. We all know Vogue is the God of all fashion magazines (quote Carrie Bradshaw "I remember when I bought Vogue instead of dinner"), but there's loads of updated publications at the moment such as Porter, ID, Love and even Look magazine (cheap as chips weekly mag that is perfect if you want super updated info on what's going on in the fashion scene in the UK at the moment)
Effortless chic: my top wardrobe items for looking (and feeling) good
To kick things off, it has to be my all time number one styling piece - my leather jacket. There's something about wearing a leather jacket that makes me feel like I'm wearing a piece of armour - it's like my own personal turtle shell. It's a great way to toughen up any outfit without going to the extreme, and it goes with literally anything. There's nothing that can quite compare to my leather jacket, it's the perfect item for everyday, and I wouldn't change it for anything. As always I highly recommend All Saints, as they have a huge variety and are slightly more reasonably priced than a lot of other brands. They also mould to your body over time, so I recommend sizing down as this will be an investment you don't want to regret.
The humble white shirt is a classic for several reasons. One: it goes with pretty much anything. Two: it’s flattering. Three: it brings a smarter edge to any outfit. You can wear it casual easily, and then when you need something smart, it’s there to do the job too. I recommend going for a men’s style, as they tend to be cut a lot cleaner and more flatteringly. The Primark men’s section is great, or H&M, or shifting through Dad’s/Boyfriend’s/Best-Friend’s wardrobe (all of which I’ve done, sorry lads) is a great trick.
Another brilliant addition to my accessory collection? My Rayban rounds. There’s something about a sleek pair of sunglasses that just pulls together an outfit without drawing too much attention. That’s why I love them - they're effortlessly easy to style with anything, and timeless, with a retro twist.
And then there’s nothing quite like a bit of silver jewellery to complete an outfit - stack and layer, and you’re good to go. Mixing metals can work too, but you have to be precise and keep it minimal.
I took this photo when on a random shopping trip with my boyfriend. On the days where I really don’t plan my outfit, but end up really loving it or feeling inspired for future looks, I take a mirror selfie to document the items in question. This outfit ticks multiple classic pieces off the chart for me - A) a black pea coat. Self explanatory, really. Flattering, easy to style and versatile. B) Levi 501’s. In any shape or form, these are the ultimate jeans that everyone should have in their wardrobe. The perfect straight leg cut without compromising on style (although the pair in this photo are much too big, and not vintage, but I still love the look and feel of them). I own four pairs of 501’s - two vintage, and two men’s pairs. As Levi’s aren’t the cheapest jeans, I recommend going vintage, or looking in discount supermarkets (Costco is the best for Levi’s). Then finally, C) the black Chelsea boot. The easiest boot to style, without compromising on comfort. Mine have a high leg, so are a little bit different, but are easy to style none the less, especially with baggy jeans in the winter when you want full coverage of the legs.
A classic crew neck jumper is something you can’t go wrong with. It’s the easiest way to layer up in the Winter, or simply on its own in the Autumn. I like wearing them in brighter colours to add a little edge to my outfits and liven them up. Red has been one of my favourite colours to style for a while as it’s flattering on all skin tones due to the variety in shades available, and a red woollen jumper is a great way to start incorporating this colour into your wardrobe.
As you can see from the vast array of photographs above, I am a huge fan of stripes. Stripes are a great way of uplifting an outfit, and are so easy to find on the market. Whether you’re going for the classic Parisienne look with the Breton stripe (see picture three), or for a bright Breton t-shirt (see pictures two and six), or maybe some vertical stripes to elongate and flatter your figure (see the rest of the pictures), there is something to find for everyone. I love a classic Breton long sleeve t-shirt for a day of errands (my favourite one was from Gant - I wore it until the holes in the sleeves were creating more holes. I still have it as I can’t bear to part with it) just as much as I love an asymmetric stripey shirt or blouse for a dinner and drinks evening. Best places to look are Whistles (for t-shirts, sweatshirts and Parisienne vibes), Topshop (for more unusual and quirky styles, see pictures one and four) and Armor-lux via ASOS (for the classic Breton stripe).
A trench coat is pretty self explanatory to be honest. I think I would really struggle in the Springtime and Autumnal months if I didn't own one. It's light-weight and easy to layer with, and extremely flattering on all body types (ensuring you go for a clean cut). I love a classic longline beige trench (based on the infamous Burberry trench) as it's great for breaking up all black outfits and adding a bit of brightness, however I would strongly recommend ensuring that your coat isn't flared at the bottom - a straight masculine cut is always more flattering. I own around five trench coats, all in different colours and styles (see photo's above) and I honestly believe it is one of the simplest yet most rewarding items you could have in your wardrobe.
A good pair of trainers, ones you can incorporate into your wardrobe easily, are essential for those errand-running days, or for when you need to make a smarter outfit more casual. I only really got into trainers two years ago when I got my first pair of Adidas Superstars (see above). Before then, I was so wary of my height that I only ever went out in shoes with some sort of heel or platform. Now, I can safely say that my Superstars, Stan Smiths, and hi-top converse are my feet saviours, and also some of my favourite pieces for effortless style.
I do love jewellery, but sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up, unique accessory to lift an outfit. That’s why I love pins so much. This pin in particular, a champagne bottle, is one I found in Cassius & Coco, a gorgeous gift and lifestyle shop on Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick, London. They hold a great collection of eclectic accessories, including this independent designers pins (other pins on offer included wine bottles, lipsticks, and even cigarettes).
T-shirts are another major part of my wardrobe as they're the perfect piece to layer over. They're also a great way of lifting a simple outfit, with slogans and prints. There is such a huge abundance of tee's on the market at the moment, from cheap as chips to high end, and I can't express enough how much I love them. Topshop always have great trend styles at decent prices, Whistles are well known for their slogan tees (see above 'Feminin') and if you're looking for something printed and a bit more high end, then Ganni is by far my favourite brand. There's something so chic and effortless about a t-shirt and jeans, or a t-shirt half tucked into a pair of trousers or shorts that makes them so accessible and feel almost like a second skin, and I can't express enough how invaluable they are to have in your wardrobe for those days when you really don't know what to wear and you just want to be comfortable.
I love a good pair of slides - they’re so easy to slip on in the Summer and elevate any daytime look, or relax any nighttime outfit. The dream shoe, as it probably is for most women, would be a pair of Gucci slides or loafers. They hold such a collection of patterns, colours and finishes, and frankly nothing can quite beat the statement of a Gucci shoe. However, until the day that I manage to afford a pair, my favourite place to look is online at Ego. If you’re looking for a cheap, Summer shoe to try out different style with, then this is the brand for you. And frankly, for a faux leather shoe, these bad boys have held up extremely well - no scuffing and super comfortable a year in.
I hope you guys have enjoyed the post and thank you for reading. I've really missed blogging so I wanted to come back with a bang (a.k.a a ridiculously long post of me rambling about personal style...) and I'm excited to share loads of new content with you guys now that I'm finishing at drama school!
Don't get me wrong, I've been really enjoying the hot weather and sunny days, but sometimes, it's great when the sky's a little overcast and a cool breeze kicks in.
I've been spending a lot of time in Kew (a part of South-West London belonging to the borough of Richmond) recently. It's the perfect leafy suburb to while away the time in on a Friday afternoon - there's lots of small independent boutiques, small cafe's and coffee shops, and of-course, the famous Royal Botanic Kew Gardens if you fancy a stroll and an agricultural day out.
The milder weather has meant that it's the perfect time for me to whip out my collection of white shirts and blouses and I could not be happier. On this particular day I was really inspired by the combination of this poet blouse from Topshop and my pale wash denim dungarees from Whistles - I love the mix of bohemian and city chic. I've also been really enjoying wearing my dungarees half done up and half loose for an even more casual look.
I also just got my first ever pair of classic black hi-top converse. These are an absolute staple of mine already as they are so easy to style and add such an effortlessly timeless yet retro feel to any outfit. I loved my two-tone hi-top converse to death (literally, they are tearing all over the place, I've been wearing them since I was twelve!) but it was time for a new pair. I bought these via Depop as I managed to find them for a much cheaper price - £55 RRP is very overpriced for Converse in my opinion, especially as you used to be able to pick up new pairs for a mere £20-£30 only a few years ago, but what can I say - it's just another sign of the times.
Blouse -Topshop (old) / Dungarees - Whistles / Bag - Topshop via Mary's Living & Giving (similar here) / Shoes - Converse / Sunglasses - Rayban (Round)
Closest transport links to Kew Gardens: Kew Gardens underground & overground station, Buses 65 & 391 stop closest to the station but bus route R68 stops near by too. Nearest rail station is Kew Bridge (south-west trains)
It's been a long time since I've blogged. I had so many elaborate blog posts planned - different clothing orientated posts, travel guides, London guides etc. But March & April both ended up being unsuspectedly difficult months for me. Therefore, I neglected a lot of creative things in my life that I wish I hadn't. So, I'm back (hopefully for a longer period of time now), and I've decided to go back to basics and do a few simpler posts, this one in particular focusing on one of my all time favourite wardrobe staples - the printed t-shirt.
Leather Jacket - All Saints (Wyatt discontinued, similar style here) / T-shirt - Ganni / Jeans - Vintage Levi's 501 (via Asos marketplace) / Trainers - Adidas (Superstars) (similar here) / Hat - eBay / Belt - Primark
I bought this t-shirt just over two months ago now - it had been on my wishlist for absolutely ages, so I finally took the plunge and purchased it. Ganni is one of my all time favourite brands, especially for wafer-thin soft cotton t-shirts, but the price-tag has always been eye-wateringly high. This t-shirt, however, had remained in the back of my mind for so long that I just couldn't help myself any longer, and I decided to overlook the price tag just this once. Frankly, it was worth the money, because I have barely taken it off since buying it, and it works so well with my wardrobe! I love a good white t-shirt, as most people do, but there was something about the simple slogan and water-colour bananas in this particular style that just had me at hello.
Denim Jacket - Vintage / T-shirt - Ganni (as above) / Trousers - Topshop (similar here) / Belt - Salvatore Ferragamo / Trainers - Adidas (Superstars) (similar here) / Sunglasses - Rayban (Round)
Printed t-shirts are such a fun way of updating your Spring/Summer wardrobe. They're easy to style, and great for making a somewhat boring outfit more fun. I love wearing them tucked into 501's, or with a pair of tapered trousers like the ones in the photo above (that dusty pink is huge for this season, and looks surprisingly flattering even on a ridiculously pale gal like me). They look great underneath a suit instead of a white shirt if you're looking to create a more casual take on a smart outfit, and they look ace underneath a denim or leather jacket. I will definitely be whipping out my printed t-shirt collection more for this Spring/Summer, so look out for a post dedicated solely to the humble cotton tee.
Thank you for reading, and hopefully there'll be more posts in the upcoming weeks, as I've got some great ideas that I'd love to share with you all!
(also if you clocked the title of this post and don't know where that song lyric is from, then you ain't no hollaback girl, just saying) x
Partridges, Sloane Square. Lomography 400ISO, Pentax ME Super
Film photography has been one of my greatest passions since I got my first camera at the age of six. My parents bought me a cheap-as-chips Fuji camera (which I still have actually!) to use when I went to Serbia to visit family by myself for the first time. It was the simplest camera - it cost a tenner and it was an easy shoot-and-go type, in no ways fully manual like the camera I use now. I loved this little gem of a camera - yes, my images were often a tad unfocused or badly aligned, and my nine year old selfies were somewhat horrendous, but it was my first little photography companion and I treasured my experiments.
My cousin Jelena, Serbia, 2003, Fujifilm
As a teenager, I rediscovered film photography when rummaging through my parents attic looking for old photographs for my Art GCSE project. I was so intrigued by the spontaneity of the 'moment' in every photograph, that it inspired me to purchase myself a new film camera, and something a little bit different. So, when I was sixteen, I bought the Lomography Fisheye 2 for £40 and a bunch of vivid 400 IS0 and 800 ISO films. I loved my fisheye. It was so experimental and kooky and made me much more aware of living life 'in the moment'. Yes, all my pictures ended up being round, but I didn't care - I have such a vast collection of my own photographs now from my teenage and sixth form years, and that's something that really matters to me.
Another one of my favourite ways of snapping pictures when I was a teen was with disposable cameras. They're easy, cheap and a great way of capturing events if you don't want to risk bringing a more expensive camera. I started out with the cheap versions from Boots that are easily accessible, but as I experimented more with this easy form of 35mm photography, I started purchasing Kodak 39 exposure cameras in bulk on Amazon, and occasionally the Ilford black and white disposables.
As I became more and more interested in experimenting with film photography, I started researching other cameras I could use that were cheap and relatively easy to find. I tried out the Holga (but a new version that Lomography had started producing), which was a cheaply manufactured type of 35mm camera known for it's light leaks and general irregularity. My first roll that I produced on this camera is to this day one of the most interesting rolls of film I have ever shot, as I accidentally rewound the film halfway through shooting, along with a few other interesting accidents by yours truly. I ended up with an eclectic collection of photographs, all unique, vivid and interesting. After that roll, however, my Holga never really worked, so that camera was definitely a one-hit-wonder for sure.
Then I decided to try out one of the most famous compact cameras ever produced, which was easily available, and relatively cheap, on eBay: the Olympus Trip 35. A camera first produced in 1967, and later discontinued in 1984, the trip 35 was an immensely popular 'vintage' camera due to its simplicity and compact nature. It was famous for being light and easily portable and for its selenium cell. After listening to people rave about this camera for months, I purchased mine for twenty-five quid on eBay. Similarly to my Holga, I noticed that the Trip worked relatively well for it's first roll, and then subsequently started to merge multiple shots into one (do you like double exposures? This was more like an exposure of TEN!) and frankly it wasn't worth using expensive rolls of film in this camera. Poundland stocked AGFA 24 exposures at the time, but even then I wasn't happy spending my hard-earned cash on developing almost pointless rolls of film, so before too long I stopped using this camera. It probably didn't help that mine was produced before 1971 due to it's chrome shutter (models produced after 1971 had a black shutter), but never-the-less, I don't really recommend this camera at all.
After experimenting to the point where I was bored of dealing with half-working cameras, I decided to properly research into buying a fully manual camera that I could use for my own pleasure as well as fashion photography and potentially blog content. After a long time of weighing up the pros and cons of different cameras, I decided to settle on buying a manual vintage Pentax. I had never owned a Pentax camera before, and as much as I would've loved a Canon, they were just simply out of my price range. I settled on the Pentax ME Super, and managed to find one on eBay with a 50mm lens and a flash, all for the grand total of... thirty-two quid! And guess what? This camera works perfectly! It is honestly my baby, I have been using it now since Spring 2016 and I am yet to find another camera that produces photos quite like this one, and for this price. It is fully manual, so I do have to work the focus, aperture and everything in-between by myself, but as tricky as that may sound, the ME Super is a surprisingly easy camera to use. And the results speak for themselves, which I love - I am hoping that we have many more years and rolls of film together.
The best thing about the ME Super is that it adapts itself so well depending on it's surroundings. The light meter may be showing that there isn't enough light to produce a coherent image, but it will still capture something vivid and intense almost every time. If you want more realistic images, then AGFA 200 ISO Film is the way to go. If, like me, you love daring splashes of colour, brightness and something a little more retro looking, then Lomography 400 ISO is your best bet. Both of these films are by far the two best I have used in this camera as they are the most easily adaptable to the surroundings. If you prefer black and white photography, then Ilford is the safest and most accessible option. However, if you want to go for something with an even more satisfying grain, texture and clarity, then I would strongly recommend hunting down some Fomapan profi-line classic in 100 ISO. This film is harder to find - I was introduced to it by my former driving instructor who gave me a few rolls as a parting gift once I'd gained my license. Apparently eBay is the best way of finding it for a reasonable price.
The ME Super is great for fashion photography, too. It's unexpected outcomes make styling so much more fun, and the photographs that are produced are always eye-catching. Down below are a few of my favourite style pictures that I have shot, and a few of myself shot by my friends.
And finally, in my opinion the ME Supers best trait: how amazing it is for portraiture. So here are a few of my favourite portraits taken on this camera:
where to look, what to find:
I have found that eBay is always my best bet with finding cameras and lenses. There are thousands of sellers available, and it's relatively easy to find the camera you may be looking for, and for a good price. I do recommend looking predominantly at Olympus and Pentax as there are more of them available and they often tend to be a lot cheaper than Canon or Contax. If you don't have a price budget I recommend looking at: Canon AE-1 (program) for quality and reliability, the Nikon FM Series if you want a new and unused 35mm camera, or the Minolta X-700 for an all-around positive experience (and it can be found for under £100).
If you're looking for something inexpensive that gives brilliant results consistently, then the Pentax K-1000 or ME Super are both brilliant in my opinion.
You can also search Amazon and the Lomography website for vintage cameras, lenses and films as well as eBay as they're both reliable with sellers.
the best films to search for:
35mm film is still pretty accessible, especially online or in local camera shops. My top choices are:
1. Lomography 400 ISO - perfect if you want a film that adapts well to any lighting, and if you want unexpected, vivid colours. Relatively easy to find, including in most bigger Boots branches, and on amazon.
2. Fomapan 100 ISO - if you're looking for beautiful, tonal qualities in you black and white photography, then this is the film for you. It's a little harder to find (I'd check eBay) so if you can't be bothered to look for it, I'd stick to Ilford.
3. AGFA 200 ISO - cheap and cheerful, this film is great for natural looking photography without too much grain. This is one of my favourite films to shoot with. Unfortunately, it is no longer stocked in Poundland, so your best bet is Amazon.
I hope you guys have enjoyed this litle shpiel about 35mm, and sorry if it rambles on for too long - I evidently just cannot contain my adoration for film photography! Comment below if you've got any good tips or tricks you want to share! x
After a week of obscure weather in the UK thanks to the 'Beast from the East', the snow has melted and we've suddenly been hit with a bout of unexpected warmth, meaning I managed to go out in my leather jacket today. Who knows how long it'll last for, but it's safe to say that I very much enjoyed not having to layer up today. Last weekend, before the snow hit, we had this incredible sunshine down in west London (which did not make an appearance this weekend unfortunately), and although it was very cold, it was the perfect day to shoot some pictures.
Coat - Whistles (old) / Jumper - New Look / Jeans - Vintage Levi 501's via Asos Marketplace / Belt - Primark / Trainers - Converse (old) / Sunglasses - Rayban
It was the perfect Sunday afternoon day to relax with a good cup of coffee. Due to the intermittent weather, I've been looking for a good item of knitwear that is easy to layer with and not as thick as my cashmere or wool jumpers. Enter this 'La Femme' knit from New Look which I managed to score for a mere £20 online - it's the perfect comfy statement piece to tick of a few trends with (red - check, slogan - check!). Another item I have been really excited about are these vintage 501's. I've been looking for the perfect replacement for my favourite Levi's for years now. It is notoriously hard to find the perfect vintage 501's, but I saw these randomly on Asos Marketplace, and when I noticed that they were the same size as my old pair (and the same wash), I decided to take a risk and order them. I'm usually quite anti shopping vintage online because I'm a firm believer of trying things on in store first, but luckily these were exactly what I was looking for. They're the perfect fit (albeit slightly baggier than my old pair, especially considering I'd worn them five days in a row when these photo's were taken, so they could use a wash!) and are so easy to style with my wardrobe. I'm really looking forward to the warmer months now and wearing these with a crisp white shirt and sandals.
Hoping the weather will finally start to perk up - but I'm preparing myself for even more cold days!
Okay, so January was well and truly a bit of a shit-show (pardon my language). I always hate the ever-powerful feeling of the January blues creeping up my spine, and frankly, February could have come a lot sooner. I love the feeling that we're (slowly, but surely) creeping our way back into Spring now, as I'm so ready to bring back my leather jacket, trench coats and slogan t-shirts.
Last week, I did a little cheeky meander through the Oxford Circus Topshop (aka the temple for all fashion bloggers) and found a few great transitional pieces that I'm buzzing to share with you. They're versatile but playful and a bit different, which is what I really need to inject into my wardrobe at the moment. Topshop's current collection is super varied.
Top - Topshop / Denim Jumpsuit - Topshop / Scarf - Topshop / Coat - Gant / Trainers - Adidas Stan Smiths
I am absolutely in love with this denim jumpsuit. It's almost a pinafore/dungarees hybrid, and it's also surprisingly flattering even for us shorties. I think the high waist and wide leg combo will always be super flattering, though here I've paired it with my adidas Stan smiths and a bright yellow top, so I'll admit I do look a bit like an oversized toddler, but to be honest with you, I don't care.
Jumper - Unknown / Boots - Vintage (Faith)
For something a little more relaxed on top, I thought a super-soft cashmere roll neck would do the trick, but this time in a brighter, paler tone (lilac for the win). The shoes, however, are far from relaxed. I found these amazing cow-hide boots in a charity shop in Ealing (Ealing is the Queen of charity shops!) for £9.99. I have always loved thrift shopping but it's often a bit of a mind-fuck if you ask me - but finding something as crazy and fun as these shoes always makes it worth it! Animal prints always lift an outfit to me, so toning down the top half makes them really pop.
* sorry for the lack of posts lately - I've actually not had a laptop now for over a month, and my mums amazing note died two weeks ago, so I've literally had no way of finishing this post, but I'm back in action now, so hopefully more posts on the way! x
When I was a teenager, I was often far more care-free with my style. I would just wear what I wanted, when I wanted with no real filter in my brain that considered any complications. If you look back on my Style Evolution post, you can see just how much my style changed during sixth form between the ages of seventeen and eighteen. I suddenly started dressing far more... conservatively, thinking I was being 'sophisticated' and Parisian, when in fact, I didn't really like how simple my style had become. During 2017, I really tried to inject that passion I used to have back into my style, and it's really started to weave it's way back in. I've started wearing far more colour again (2017 was all about red knitwear for me), getting back into slogan and printed t-shirts, and I've stopped caring so much about what others think of my sense of style.
One aspect of fashion that I've never really delved into was hats. I have always adored hats, in so many different styles, whether that be trilby's, berets, floppy wide brimmed retro types, you name it, but for some reason I was always so apprehensive about wearing them. I never felt like hats really suited me, until I rediscovered my black beret last year. I'd bought it when I was twelve in Paris, and I'd never really worn it. I think I used to have one in another colour too, but who knows - I certainly never wore that either! I started playing around with the beret, and before I knew it, I'd started playing around with a wide brimmed red hat that belonged to my sister (she is yet to be reunited with it, soz Ljuba...) and suddenly, I had no inhibitions - hats were my new favourite accessory!
Coat - Zara / Jumper - Vintage La Redoute / Trousers - American Apparel (riding pants) / Shoes - Underground (creepers) / Hat - Barbour / Bag - Vintage
A style I have always been a fan of was the baker boy cap - it's so irresistibly cute to me, even when people try and say that wearing one makes you look like a train driver, I don't care. Baker boys swept the fashion industry in 2017, particularly in the blogger circuit, and I was desperate to find myself the right one. There were some great ones in Topshop and on Asos, but I was unwilling to spend more than a tenner on a cap made of polyester. I'd been rocking my mum's tartan baker boy from Barbour for a few weeks, and I was loving it, but I found that it was becoming increasingly difficult to style. I was almost ready to throw caution to the wind and spend £20 in Topshop, when a girl walked into the shop I was working in over Christmas wearing a beautifully over-sized cord baker-boy. The first thing I asked her at the till wasn't "Do you need this wrapped?" - nope, I was desperate, so I immediately asked her where her hat was from. The next day, lo and behold, I'd ordered the exact same one from eBay, and it arrived in under 24 hours. It has basically not left my head since. I'm besotted.
Sunglasses - Rayban (octagon)
One of my goals for 2018 is to go my own way a bit more with my style, and just let go. Choosing this baker boy cap was one of the best investments I have made so far already, and I am so excited to see what other hats I will delve into throughout the year. So here's a few looks shot by my fabulous friend Nina Masterton, I hope you enjoy!
1. Casual day out
Leather Jacket - All Saints (similar here) / Jumper - United Colours of Benetton (old) / Jeans - Mens Levi 501 (via Costco) / Boots - Whistles (old) / Scarf - Oliver Bonas / Hat - eBay
The perfect outfit for a casual day out when the weather's a little milder. Cashmere jumper, leather jacket, baggy jeans, biker boots, and a mohair scarf with a pop of colour. An outfit I have been wearing regularly, sometimes with a black pea coat (so sixties) and a pair of skinny mid-calf Chelsea boots. And the hat just adds that extra bit of 'Mod-London' vibes.
2. retro glory
Vinyl Trench Coat - Topshop / T-shirt - Wrangler (outlet) / White Cords - Topshop / Trainers - Adidas Stan Smiths (outlet) / Belt - Salvatore Ferragamo / Hat - same as above
My ultimate "I should have been this age in the seventies" outfit. I'm still obsessed with this vinyl trench coat - it's fun, flattering and surprisingly warm. I'm also really into white on white outfits at the moment, so a white t-shirt (with added rainbow prints of-course) and a pair of white courderoys is definitely where it's at at the moment. I'm also unbelievably psyched about finally owning a pair of Stan Smiths - they complete any outfit, and I find that they are far more flattering than the Superstars I have owed in the past, and I am so excited to keep styling them during the year (oh, might I add that I found them in a McArthur Glen outlet in York for... £13. Yup. £13!)
3. London's calling
Coat - Topshop (similar here) / Top - Topshop (similar here) / Jeans - Whistles / Ankle Boots - Office / Hat -same as above
And finally, combining some of my favourite, stereotypically 'London' style pieces - a pair of cigarette jeans, ankle boots, and a coat that looks like it could have been owned by my Grandad. Duster coats always make me feel so much more lengthened, and at 5'2'', they're a great way of making people think that I am taller in my outfit pictures! Also who doesn't love a bit of heritage check?!
I hope you guys enjoyed the latest posts, and I hope you're all having a wonderful start to the New Year!
all photographs taken by Nina Masterton on location in Pitshanger, W5, London.