Here’s What a £10 charity shop haul can look like 

so there are evidently a lot of reasons to shop in charity shops. It’s a way of buying clothes and supporting a good cause at the same time. It’s a way of getting clothes much cheaper than high street prices. It’s a way of supporting a charity close to your heart. The list goes on. When I first started this blog I was rambling on a lot about charity shops, because where I live in Fulham I am a stones throw from lots. I live directly next door to one and I am probably their most regular customer. Charity shops had never been on my radar before but I got heavily involved. My wardrobe drawers literally broke. So yeah, it got a bit much. My boyfriend got a bit scared. I had to cut down on buying floral shirts from the 60s, but lately I’ve got back in the game.

I think more people should take up charity shop spending. You can get some seriously impressive bargains, as I proved again today in the British Heart Foundation shop on my road. 

This is what a £10 charity shop haul can look like if you do it right: 

1) Vero Moda white top £4

 2) Vintage oversized green jumper £1.50 

3) Urban Outfitters silk cullotes £1.50 

4) Mink Pink denim leopard shorts £3 

   

     

Three usually expensive labels and a seriously cool old man jumper that I will wear to death in the winter for only £10. If you have a few hours spare on a Saturday and don’t mind riffling through racks of weird and wonderful clothes and bags, get yourself into some charity shops. It’s a seriously cost-effective way of boosting your wardrobe without breaking the bank and you feel quite good about it after. Win win situation. 

How are we meant to afford you, London?

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So this is more of a rant than a blog post. I’m feeling a bit annoyed today for no particular reason, and i’m currently on the tube which doesn’t help, I’m also a tiny bit hormonal, so you know how it is. Basically, I am a grump. However, this is a serious rant because it’s about young people like me. Young people who live and work in London. One of the most diverse, amazing, opportunity-filled cities in the world. A city that people who aren’t in, want to be in, a city that people travel from far and wide to study in, a place where people are desperate to live. So why do I feel so utterly fed up and actually quite disgusted by it? HOW DO WE AFFORD TO STAY?

Someone please tell me how? So my current situation is that I live with my boyfriend (who took the amazing photo above) in a flat that we rent in Fulham. We are lucky in that we have a good landlord and get it for a really good price with our friends. I’m 25 and he’s 28, we’re both graduates and we both have pretty good jobs. In a few weeks our combined income will be over £60k a year, and I guess that if we got promotions and job changes over the next five years, that will increase. That sounds loads doesn’t it? Like, a really good amount of money. It also sounds like a really good situation, which it is, we aren’t complaining, we know we are lucky to be earning over the average wage and to do jobs we like. But the bottom line is, we don’t have anyone to borrow money from, and we aren’t set to inherit anything remotely soon, so if we want to buy our own place, we need to save. You need to save so much to buy in London, it’s almost laughable. It’s basically not worth it.

You need a shit ton of money to buy a house in London. So MUCH money. We could stay where we are and put away as much as possible every month and stop having holidays and cut down massively on socialising and we would still be here in a few years. Young people are getting priced out of London. Renting is SO expensive. If you are fine with renting and you don’t want to buy, that’s fine. It’s fine, yet you still have to deal with being taken into flats that look like hovels and need a million things repaired that probably never will be, and be asked to turn over something in the region of £1200 a month. Then you pay your bills, then you pay your travel, then you buy food and you try and have a social life and then there’s money for some sort of treat or luxury (like buying meat once a week or a new face wash, nothing really luxurious at all), and if you even get that far, it’s all gone. If you can’t afford to have a flat on your own or rent with one with your partner, you house share. House sharing is bloody great at times. It means you pay less rent, it can be fun, it fits a purpose and you can generally find somewhere that won’t tie you down forever. But how long do people want to house share? Into their late 20s…into their 30s…older?

Young people in London, unless you are incredible lucky to be given or lent money, are stuck. They are trapped and the outlook is not good, in fact it’s getting worse. I’m sick of hearing about it now because it makes me feel depressed. This city, where I live and work and where my life and all my friends are, is making it impossible for me to stay in. In a few months I’ll be leaving me flat and taking my boyfriend home to my parents with me so we can save some money and have our own place, so we can get on with the rest of our lives…out of London.

It’s unfair, elitist and absolutely bloody ridiculous. I know I’m not alone. I know the same applies to so many people. I know that so many others will have to turn their back on the place they so dearly want to call home. Well, it’s your loss London. It’s your loss and it’s a Damn shame it’s come to this.

Reads, wears and skin: Stuff you definitely want to take on holiday with you this year.

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Sooo I’ve already been on two holidays this year and I have another two potentially in the pipeline. I have a problem okay, I said it. This habit will need to come to an end this year when my hardcore saving starts, but I will never ever regret any travel, so screw it.

I got back from an amazing trip to Sri Lanka with my pals a couple of weeks ago and now I’m sitting in bed feeling very ill, so the only logical activity I could think of doing is looking into a trip to Greece, which led to this blog post. I’ve had a pretty good 2015 so far, and I’ve stumbled across some holiday must haves that you should absolutely get involved with if you are going away this summer. Or winter. or WHENEVER.

Reads

White Girl Problems and Psychos- Babe Walker. I cry-laughed at both of these books. I started White Girl Problems on the plane to Sri Lanka and immediately fell in love. If I ever write a book, I want it to be as funny and ridiculous as this. The story behind the books is pretty cool too. You might have seen the Twitter account White Girl problems? Well if you have or haven’t, it was started by three people, who then created a character and built a hilarious, LA based, fake, bitchy, smoothie obsessed world around her. If you like a good laugh you HAVE to read these. Psychos is the follow on and even funnier IMO. These are beach reading perfection. LOVE.

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Wears

Sliders. Maybe the most comfortable holiday shoe ever. I took some with me to Sri Lanka and basically never took them off. I even wore them in the sea once because, well, I don’t know why, but I did. My faves are from ASOS. They’re metallic and really bloody cool and go with anything. They’re £20 which is more than I would normally pay for holiday flats, but these are babes.

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Pop brow sunglasses. I have so much love for these. Urban Outfitters always do amazing sunglasses and these are only £18. I was people watching on a beach in Sri Lanka and saw a French woman who turned into my holiday idol wearing a pair of these. I want to be her, but until then, these will do.

popbrowSkin

For years I have gone on holiday, used suncream on my face and immediately broken out in 39398484 spots. Whiteheads everywhere. A gross, zitty invasion. Zitty is a sick word and I will never use it again. Anyway, I was in Thailand this time last year (sob) and I took an SPF 30 face moisturiser with me and didn’t touch above my neck with suncream. What a revelation. I’ve tried this before with other moisturisers but always ended up with a bright red nose or burnt cheeks. This Olay one though, is something else. It’s lightweight and okay to reapply a few times a day without clogging up with your face. I just splash myself with water before I re-use it. Probably my favourite and most-essential holiday toiletry.

My other favourite holiday discovery this year is Tiger Balm. Mosquitos love me. They descend on me and feast upon my blood and leave me with lumpy arms and legs. I also always manage to get other unknown lumps or bites or tiny bits of sunburn pop up to say hi. Tiger Balm is good for like, everything. I had no idea. I also always get a back ache from planes, and guess what, it’s good for that too. It not only makes mosquito bites feel better, it puts the buggers off in the first place. Well worth a purchase, especially if you’re off somewhere tropical.  You can pick it up in Boots and I think once spied it in Primark, so there we go.

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Important things to concentrate on in your 20s

Remember when the most important things in life were being on MSN every night and having the right trainers? Yep. I also miss my biggest decision being which song lyric I should have for my MSN screen name that best represented my emotional state. Probably something by Nelly. Being 14 was hard after all.

Stuff has obviously gone and got a bit more complicated because of that thing called growing up. I’m pretty happy about it though because being in my 20s so far has meant slowly earning more money, discovering jalapenos and being able to stay in bed all day on a Sunday whenever the mood (or the hangover) takes me. What I’m not so keen on though is how freaking fast they are going. I mean, they’re halfway done (sharp intake of breath) already, which is pretty bloody scary. These are the things that have come into focus as really quite important now, and stuff to take notice of as time continues to fly by. Can you slow down life?

1) Keep yourself well. Educating yourself on eating is important. That phrase you learnt when you were younger- you are what you eat, well who knew it was SO true? Eat green things, avoid excess sugar, don’t overdo it on the caffeine and try and cook from scratch when you can. You should also go get those niggling little problems looked at a by a doctor. Oh and also go to the dentist even if you don’t have a toothache and get your eyes checked even if you think you can see fine. Don’t waste money on a gym membership you won’t use, but do SOME exercise, if it’s indoors. There’s an app for that.

2) Travel as much as you possibly can. Say yes to trips, go to new places, experience as much new culture as you can and buy lots of amazing T-shirts along the way. As someone much wiser than me once said and many Etsy prints will tell you- travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.

3) Worry less. Don’t freak out about your career and when you’ll have babies and when you’ll meet the person you’ll want to marry. Stress won’t make these things happen any faster.

4) Meet as many new people as you can. Networking gives you the chance to meet people who change your mind, inspire you, teach you new skills and fill up your contacts list with helpful souls who you might need to call on one day.

5) Save some money when you can. Even if it’s just a little bit that seems almost not worth it, you never know what might happen that requires a few pennies. (You also never know when you will NEED something from ASOS. You know, like really NEED.) It’s also a good idea to learn how to handle money and get a pension (I know, omg). Spreadsheet anyone?

6) Keep the people you love close to you. 

7) Take every opportunity you get to learn something new. This shouldn’t just apply to work either, bettering yourself is something you’ll never regret.

8) Record your memories properly. If you’re going to do life, you may as well do it right. Facebook might seem like all you need to memorise everything you do and keep a photo album of it, but you might want something a bit more solid (and involves less scrolling) in twenty years time. It’s always nice to have an opportunity to spend money on Paperchase scrapbooks, right?

9) Be open-minded.

10) Have an absolute shit load of fun. Have all of the fun now, and keep having all of the fun forever. What’s the point of being on this earth if you’re not going to enjoy it?

Procrastinators be procrastinating

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Procrastination is life. Well for some people anyway. I can definitely stick my hand up and say I put all manner of shit off until I suddenly HAVE TO DO IT. Like, hold me at gunpoint and I’ll probably ask you if you fancy going for a nandos first. So basically a massive note to self and everyone else out to stop putting these things off:

1) Checking your boobs.

2) Going to the dentist.

3) Asking for a job review.

4) Calling a certain someone.

5) Visiting a grandparent.

6) Eating something green.

7) Actually having an early night.

8) Applying for your dream job when it pops up online. JUST DO IT.

9) Offering to do the tea round at work.

10) Opening a savings account.

11) Thinking about a pension. I know.

12) Cancelling the gym membership you never use but shell out for every month.

13) Taking a day off to do absolutely nothing.

14) Getting your eyebrows done. (actual real note to self)

15) Clean that draw in the washing machine where you put washing powder.

16) Buying new pillows.

17) DO YOUR WORK.

5 signs that tell you it’s time to end a friendship

I’ve droned on a lot on this blog about how important I find it to have good friends. By good friends, I mean friends you actually like and want to spend time with. Friends that make you feel supported and happy but you know you can rely on for the truth when you need it (that dress makes you look like roadkill, burn it. etc etc). It’s also good to have friends you miss when you don’t see them for ages. Missing people is important. You know like, “OH MY GOD I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN SO LONG HAS YOUR HAIR GROWN HALF AN INCH?”

It sounds obvious that you would of course have friends like this, but actually, it seems pretty normal for people to keep company with so called friends who they actually don’t like. I know people do it, because I see it all the time. I hear it from people who moan and say things like ‘well she’s my friend but I actually can’t stand her.’ Errrr….sorry? ‘Friend’ and ‘can’t stand her’ don’t belong together. My most shared post is about this, so I guess people relate.

You know when a friendship has gone bad. You just do. The prospect of seeing someone makes you feel anxious, unexcited and probably bloody miserable. You probably also put it off to the point you’ve moved onto medieval ailments and who’s likely to believe you have scurvy? You can’t be bothered, you have nothing to say and you worry about what they’ll think about your clothes or hair or that you have nothing impressive enough to tell them. You also suspect they want to see you partly to brag and make you feel a bit crappy.

In my friend culling experience, there are signs that tell you exactly when to pull the plug.

1) You feel anxious before you meet up. Why? Because they make you feel shit and you feel the need to impress when all you should be doing is eating too many carbs and laughing about that time you tripped over a dog and cut both knees. (That happened to me). You worry about them not messaging you, when actually you have nothing to say anyway. You probably also worry they’ll go away and talk about you after.

2) You don’t want to be alone with them. If you can’t happily lounge on a sofa with a friend one on one and at least fill half hour, why are you bothering?

3) Silence is concerning. You absolutely think OMG THEY DEFINITELY HATE ME. THEY ARE TELLING EVERYONE I AM AWFUL. Bet you have friends who you also don’t speak to for weeks but never worry about it? Yep. That’s a good friend.

4) You would definitely rather they weren’t joining in. Maybe you’re now only friends with them because other friends like them. I’ve been in situations where hearing a ‘friend’ is joining a social event has made me feel disheartened. You know that sort of heart sinking bitter disappointment you get from hearing a piece of news? A bit like when the milkshake machine is broken in McDonalds.

5) You just DON’T like them anymore.

It took me too long to realise the above mean a friendship isn’t working out. Working it out meant a happier but smaller friendship group and a happier me.

My name is Lauren and I’m a phone addict. 

So I spend a lot of time staring at my phone. A LOT of time. I stare at it when I walk places, when I’m on transport, when I’m at my desk, when I’m in bed, while I eat, I think I might even look at it in my sleep. I mean I can’t be sure of that last one but nothing would surprise me at this point. I am addicted to my phone. People who aren’t addicted to their phones might consider it weird, over the top or just plain infuriating because they don’t understand how deeply involved you are with your handset. People who are addicted to their phones (I know I am most definitely not alone) will know it’s not our fault.

Phones do everything. They keep you connected, keep you up to date, keep your schedule, show you where you’re going, act as a camera and a memory stick and you can even talk to them, which is kinda creepy, but there we go. You can also work off of your phone, which for someone like me (I work in social media) just becomes the norm. Your phone is a piece of equipment.

Companies have made phones that are insanely intelligent and can do crazy things that are almost scary, and consumers have jumped in fully. We have gone for it. We love it. We want more. We want faster. We want better cameras and more memories and if someone could make a phone that can cook and do washing that would be excellent.

If you are a massive phone addict you probably know it. You check it periodically, have it in your hand when you’re walking anywhere, know where it is at all times, scroll and refresh the same apps over and over (I’m looking at you Instagram and Twitter) despite nothing new happening. You also get disappointed when you are in a phone-free situation (the cinema and such) and come out with no notifications or messages because nothing has happened in that time, believe it or not. Oh and you ALWAYS carry your charger.

Imagine your phone being dead for hours with no chance of a charge. The agony. Ugh.

We live in the kind of age where we can get what we want, when we want and as much as we want. I certainly have far too much ‘iPhone’ going on in my life, as well other things.

Things I am currently ‘addicted to’:

-PopChips

– Spinach

-Olives

-Barry M Rocketstar nail varnish

– MY PHONE

The above list is ridiculous.It makes me feel stupid and a bit like I need to look into new hobbies to fill my time and get a grip.

I want to cleanse myself from being glued to my phone. I want to spend less time looking at a screen. A moth flew at my face the other night because It was dark and my phone was illuminating my face like the moon. It was terrifying. Enough is enough. I recently read Yes Please, by Amy Poehler (hilarious comedian) and she wrote about how she worries phones are trying to kill us. Well, if they are, I’m done for and that needs to change.

I am going to spend a month being on my phone less. I’m going to stop looking at it while eating, stop looking at it when I’m with people and leave it in my bag at work unless I need it. I also will try not to take it into toilets with me which I sometimes do and then realise and then hate myself. Yep.

It’s sad to say but it’s going to be immensely hard. I’ll report back.

5 things to go buy right now 

HAPPY SUNDAY.

I have been buying things. These are nice things you should buy too. Some are edible, you’re welcome. 

1) this £6.99 layered necklace from H&M that I’m currently wearing in bed and accidentally wore to the gym this morning.   

2) Pizza Express have new eats- The Pollo Verdure salad. I would normally feel like a total loser choosing salad over pizza and I’ve never done it before, but this is divine. I had it on Saturday mostly because I had just exercised. It’s chicken and vegetables in a honey sauce with balsamic and rocket salad. DELICIOUS. 

  

3) Newlook bralets. Wireless, lacy and so comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing it. I would post a photo of me wearing it but I know where the line is and I shall not cross it. They also do it in ‘I feel like I’m a model’ red if you’re that way inclined. 

  

4) So you can’t get these readymade (I don’t think) but cheese grilled crumpets. YEP. This morning pre-cinema my friends and I ate crumpets with blue cheese and spicy cheddar grilled on them topped with marmite. Mouth dreams came true. So go buy crumpets and cheese. I DARE YOU. 

  

5) Espresso Smirnoff vodka. My interest in espresso-based alcohol has peaked massively thanks to the bliss that is the espresso martini. This stuff is GOOD. Like a sort of shot of starbucks mixed with a moment of “GAH” that accompanies all shots. It’s nice. It also feels REALLY adult and I don’t know why, as I’m not found frequenting bars drinking VKs anymore. But there we go. 

  

YAY weekend, happy roast food babies everyone. 

10 types of friend that every girl needs in their life

1) The levelheaded, ultra-mature, straight talking adult. Good to have around in a crisis, good to WhatsApp when you need to be told the truth and perfect for keeping your feet on the ground. You need someone who will tell you straight that your ex is an absolute rat and you should absolutely put their face on a dartboard and then immediately fully delete them from your life.

2) The straight up animal. For the fun times, the early morning blurry times and the times you just want to forget who you are and what you stand for in the name of a good time.

3) The holiday addict (me). One minute you’re tagging them in a photo comment of an amazing picture of Santorini on Instagram, the next minute you’re boarding a plane, mildly drunk at 10am. Also good for bikini borrowing and denim shorts loans.

4) The funny one. Just because life without lols is not a life worth living, and if you can’t bring them on yourself, you need someone in your life that can. Also a good friend to introduce to new people, because who doesn’t love laughing?

5) The ‘£45 for one pair of knickers is COMPLETELY fine’ friend. For shopping, for ASOS screen grabs, for Vicoria’s Secret binges and for that week before you go away and need to just pop to Primark everyday after work.

6) The high rolling career person. Job advice, inspiration, making you want to do better and good for buying a round when everyone else is completely skint and just really needs a gin. And a hug.

7) The tech friend. SO NECESSARY. I can’t even explain the importance of having someone who knows why the screen of death has appeared and what to do with it.

8) The hair and make up guru. What eyeliner shall I buy? How did you do that to your hair? What eyebrow kit do you use? Can you wax all of my body hair off? Do you wanna come round and make me look as good as you so I can impress people I don’t really like? ETC ETC.

9) The ‘shall we have a night in and order curry’ mate. It’s all fun and games until you have luggage rather than bags under your eyes and you might vom if you so much as hear the word wine. It’s imperitive to have someone to bed-share and lounge with while sleeping through films you’ve been 5446 times and waking up with pizza on your chest.

10) The all-rounder. The really impressive person you can turn to in any situation because they just have their shit together and can be the person you need them to be. They probably clean their makeup brushes weekly and have a hangover game like no one else. You wish you were them. Frequently.

Everyone struggles with life balance sometimes, so let’s give everyone a break

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Some days I climb into bed and feel like I have done a really good job at life. I don’t always know why sometimes, because it happens on days when I have been sluggish, or not finished all my work, but the feeling is still there. It might be something to do with embracing ‘be the best you can be’ as a life motto, but yeah. Some days I’m all like “high five, good job, time for well deserved sleep” and all manner of happy, dancing emoji feelings.

Other days though I am literally like, you massive loser. You can’t keep up with your own life and you’re letting people down.

Grim.

The latter is not a good feeling. At the end of last year I felt that way all the time. It became like a normal feeling to just constantly be annoyed and constantly feel like I’d forgotten a million different things or not been a good friend, or a bad daughter. Endless lists of joyless feelings.

It’s really quite hard to hold together a life. Even a life that seems full of luxury and appears to be a piece of cake, can in reality, be a nightmare for the owner. We do own our lives, they are ours and we have to control them. We have to remember, and work, and finish things, and feed our bodies and remember to get sleep and remember those texts we should have sent and that washing that STILL needs to be done. It’s even harder when the bad times roll in. Stress turns your memory and your concentration to mush and you feel like everything is helpless.

I don’t think there is any shame in any one, of any age, feeling this way. I’m 25 and I don’t have kids, I don’t have endless financial responsibilities right now, I don’t have loads of stress at work, I don’t even have a pet. I still have massive trouble balancing life and getting it right though. I sometimes do think I should get a grip and man up, but then I remember how real the feeling is when it first sets in.

You know when you’re climbing up life mountain and you’re like, I can’t do it, I’m not good at climbing, I am definitely going to fall? Sometimes when I remember things I haven’t done and It gets all ‘shit, nothing can save this day from being a total disaster.’ But sometimes I remember and I’m like, F that, I’m so busy. And there it is. Some days the balance works and some days it doesn’t. Everyone deserves to feel like they’re stuck on life mountain and can’t see the top yet even if you think they have an easy ride and need to shut up. Give people a break.