27 May 2015

Fun in the Summer Sunshine

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I don't want to jinx it, but I think I may have found one of my favourite summer outfits right here - I even wore it to my first ever festival last weekend (minus the heels and plus the token wellies!). I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with a festival, I've never been camping, hate public toilets and just can't really deal with being surrounded by seriously drunk people, but this was different and I think it was a good way to ease myself in! Innocent Unplugged was top secret (and free!), VERY small, filled with lots of relaxing activities, amazing local and small bands, and delicious food - if only they could all be like that! I really want to go to Festival No. 6 this year as not only is the line-up amazing, but the whole ethos is much more relaxed chilled than others. D'ya reckon I could handle it? Are there any festivals you'd recommend for a novice like me?

Anyway, over to the outfit! I've been on the lookout for some ripped black jeans for quite a while now (I always find the Topshop ones lose their colour really quickly, anyone else?) and found the perfect pair in the form of these beauties from American Eagle - they're super comfy, sit perfectly just above my waist and don't seem to fade! I swallowed my nerves and wore it with a flow-y cream top (boob tube!!), posed with a VW Camper and felt ready to take on summer! 
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 Ripped JeansAmerican Eagle
 Cream Summer TopAmerican Eagle
 Denim Jacket: (Old) Topshop
 Heeled Sandals: Zara
♥ VW Camper: Not mine... I wish! 
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* I was sent the top and jeans from American Eagle, but they're a brand I've loved ever since I visited the USA when I was little! 
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23 May 2015

Diary of a Freelancer: The Scary First Step

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Ever since I turned freelance, life has been a little strange. It's a really odd feeling to all of a sudden have no higher authority there to tell you what to work on and putting deadlines in place, not having a strict day-to-day routine and (the most scary of all) having no guaranteed wage at the end of each month.

It's now been just under two months since I left my FT job but I'm already so glad that I made the decision I had. It was something I had been fretting over for god knows how long, panicking that I would be making the worst decision of my life; never managing to find a job ever again, never receiving another pay-check and just being 'behind' everyone else my age. These are all still huge worries I have everyday and sometimes I find myself having little panics (especially when I hear people talking about buying a house and couples moving into their own place), but I guess that everyone does things at different times - what a boring world it would be if we were all exactly the same! Something I really needed when I was feeling confused and stressed was somewhere to get a little bit of advice, so I thought I'd start my own Diary of a Freelancer to help anyone out there in a similar position. 
I realise I'm obviously no expert, but if these little tips may help even 1 person then I'll be a happy bunny:

It's never too late to try something new, but make sure you really consider all the pros and cons before making a rash decision. I really thought I would be making the worst decision of my life, leaving a full-time job at the age of 22, with people around me were moving in with their boyfriends/girlfriends, getting promotions or better paid jobs. However, I also realised that why not now? I'm only 22, I've (hopefully) got a whole career-life ahead of me, I've got a lot of experience under my belt, I'm lucky to live at home and therefore have no serious out-goings and have saved up money to act as a buffer. It's never too late to try something new! 

Stop thinking about other people! The worst thing to do is to be worried about what other people will think - this is something that I would say really delayed my decision, but you've got to remember that if it is going to make you happier and will actually benefit you (even if in the considerable future) then why not? Plus, the people that actually do matter will support you no matter what, and you will find that they'll actually encourage you to take the big step! 

Try to stop reading too many advice pages - they'll be filled with people telling you that the worst thing to do is to leave one job without having another to go to, or without x amount of money saved up, etc. The only person who will really know what to do is you and fretting over it will only make the decision even harder. I felt like everyday it was something that I was running over in my brain, so much so that it was making me feel really stressed, anxious and just pretty lifeless. In the end you've got to think, is it really worth it if it makes me feel like this? 

Save a little money. You will really thank yourself for it in the long-run. If you're going freelance, you can't guarantee a set amount of money each month or even that you will gain any money for a while, especially if you're going through a career change. I found it really helped by deciding a date that I would definitely be working for myself by, and putting away a bit of money during the build up. 

Be proactive. Yes it is really scary, but think about how much free time you now have! Start looking on Twitter, attend local events, discover a new hobby, start writing a blog - there's so much you could be doing! I got my current position as an Assistant Interior Stylist by just sending a couple of Tweets - get yourself out there! 

Set a routine. I still get up at the same time I would have done for work and make sure I'm dressed, fed and ready with my laptop at a desk by 9am. Obviously not everyone works best this way, but I find it just makes me feel more motivated for the day and makes me feel like I've actually accomplished something - there's nothing I hate more than feeling like I've had a wasted day. 

Are any of you freelancers - if you, I'd love to hear some of your advice! Also, let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to know more about, I know it can be a very scary subject... Answers on a postcard! 
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11 May 2015

Charlestown 'Monday' Supplement

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Happy Monday!

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend and are ready for the week ahead! I know that sometimes Monday can be a bit slow and all you really want to do is flick through things on the internet, so if you're looking for a distraction, here's some of the best bits I've found around the inter-web last week... 

 I want to have my Sunday brunch in this amazingly kitsch bar designed by Wes Anderson, please?! You'll have to travel over to Milan to enjoy it first hand though.

If you need a little inspiration and some motivational speeches, or even just a little kick up the bum to get yourself into gear with something you're working on, I'd really recommend listening to Jenny Purr's Make It Happen vlogs. I just love Jenny's blog in general and always find myself venturing over to it whenever I'm feeling a little uninspired or down in the dumps, as it's full to the brim with career and blog tips and inspiring ideas - get yourself over there! Thanks Jenny.

Last week I was attended the launch of the Biscuiteers new Dogs Trust collection. If, like me, you're defo a dog lover, you need to take a look at their offerings - they even do human biscuits too, which are bloody delicious! The cherry on top of the cake (or biscuit...) is that for every tin bought, Biscuiteers will donate part of the profits to the Dogs Trust! 

If you haven't already heard, Topshop are celebrating 5 years of beauty (how has it gone by so quickly?!) And to celebrate they have launched a collection full of the most coveted and in-demand pieces, all of which are beautifully packaged with rose gold detailing. Please can I have it all? I have especially want to get my hands on the Cream Blush in Head Over Heels and the Lipstick in Nevada

Two of my favourite brands, Superga and Liberty, have collaborated to create a new collection! I know how crazy everyone is for the Liberty x Nike collabs (as am I) but for I know I'd get much more use out of the Superga's, especially as I am such a big fan already. Plus, amazing Alexa was a previous face for the brand, so if she loves them... I really REALLY love the Michel print as it seems so classic and summery. What's your favourite? 

Let me know if you found anything over the past week that I just can't not take a look at, as I'd love to feature it next week! Moving forward, I'm going to be weekly Sunday Supplements on (you guessed it) Sunday - I just had a little disaster this week with the scheduling, oops! 

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8 May 2015

Giveaway: The Modern Botanist Gold Terrarium

Hello guys! I've (hopefully) got a very interesting post for you all and something I am very excited to share...
A terrarium giveaway!
If you do not already follow me on Instagram (@charlestown92) you may not know that I make terrariums through my business, The Modern Botanist! I really love making them and it's so much fun sourcing all of the 'ingredients' and putting them all together to create a little masterpiece. Terrariums are so popular at the moment, but they can also be quite pricey - so I would like to give one of mine away! If you would like to win the the little gold terrarium below, here's how you enter...
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a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you'd like to keep up to date with The Modern Botanist, you can follow us here:
Instagram @themodernbotanist

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7 May 2015

A little trip to Clevedon Hall!

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Last weekend was extra special for me as I was able to go for a little road-trip across the country for an overnight stay with my best friend, in an absolutely beautiful venue in Somerset. Clevedon Hall is smack bang in the middle of seaside town Clevedon, not too far from Bristol, but you wouldn't know it as you park up and see the picturesque 150-year old mansion. As we walked in, I fell in love with the decor straight away; the high ceilings, beautiful (and original) stained glass windows and dramatic doors with brass handles, and the upstairs only got better!
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 As soon as the door was closed behind Ash and I in our bedroom we may have squeeled and jumped around quite a bit - you'll understand if you had seen the bathroom! The room was really luxurious with every little detail thought about and I know this is something Clevedon Hall was passionate about demonstrating, with rooms tastefully decorated to a Victorian style, with original hand-picked antiques and decorative pieces picked individually for each room. In fact, the historic building had only recently re-opened after a three-year, £3 million restoration project, meaning that the venue is truly luxurious and new. 

After we had settled into our room, we met the rest of the guests and members of the Clevedon Hall team downstairs, to find out more about the venue over delicious canapes and prosecco. The history of the building is so interesting, with its uses ranging from a family home to girls' boarding school, and now venue. I was extra intrigued after finding out about the various secret tunnels and crypts found beneath the building in various locations, with no solid evidence regarding their previous use - very mysterious! 
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Now for the food! Head Chef Alan Jones has been awarded South West Chef of the Year, so you can just imagine how tasty the food was! We started off with fresh bread and oil, then Lobster bisque shortly followed by Cornish crab with avocado tian and Somerset lamb for main. However for me, the real winner was the dessert which included all of my favourites; a chocolate and cherry cake, with honeycomb ice-cream and salted caramel garnishes. Yum! And even after all of this, as well as with wine and prosecco, we were offered coffees and chocolate truffles of heaven before bed and then breakfast the next morning! 

Clevedon Hall is a truly beautiful venue, and I can only imagine just how special it must be for a wedding; especially with the team going to such lengths to ensure every event is bespoke and as magical for the bride and groom as possible! If you'd like to have a nose about the venue, or find out more about hiring it out, you can visit their website.

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*I was invited by Clevedon Hall for a complimentary visit, but my love for the venue is all my own. Thank you for letting me stay!
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5 May 2015

Bank Holiday in the blossom

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Oh hello there outfit post, long time no see! In fact, it has actually been a whole 8 months and I'm now feeling a little guilty... Anyway, I've currently got the blogging bug so lets just go with it. I hope you all had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend? Mine was pretty special, with Saturday and Sunday spent at the beautiful Clevedon Hotel which I'll be sharing on the blog pretty soon and Monday spent strolling round the gardens of Penshurst Place. If you've not visited or even heard of it before, it is a spectacular house smack bang in the middle of a very quaint Kentish village with a lot of history; Henry VIII used the house as a hunting lodge and it was gifted to Anne of Cleves during their divorce settlement (do we reckon it was worth it?). But... if you're not so much into your history, there's also a very Pinterest-worthy garden filled to the brim with flowers for you to explore and a tearoom nearby that I would certainly say is up there in Kent's top three, but don't hold me to that (don't worry - I will share the little gem on here very soon!). 

Anyway, now onto the outfit. These shoes; is it totally acceptable to admit that I may have laid awake at night stressing out about these shoes? After hunting them down and finding them in my local store, only to be told by my boyfriend that they were ugly, then seeing Carrie in them and deciding I had to have them, by which point they were sold out online... long story short, here they are on my feet. And boy do I love them.  I'm not entirely sure they go with my new cream dress from & Other Stories (which makes me feel a bit Sound of Music-y), but at this moment in time I'm just a bit bloody in love with them, especially as they are way comfier than they look! 
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 Midi Dress: & Other Stories 
 Lace-up Block Heels: Zara
 Leather Jacket: Topshop
 Octopus Necklace: Les Nereides
Frizzy Hair: All mine :/
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2 May 2015

The Wardrobe Staple: Espadrilles

Now it has hit May, we are sort of smack bang in the middle of spring and summer which, although means better weather, sunnier days and less rain (we'd hope, anyway), it also means a little bit of wardrobe difficulty, especially when it comes to shoes! It's just too warm to get away with loafers, boots and trainers, but not quite hot and sunny enough to go all out with sandals. That's where the classic espadrille comes in! 
charlestownBefore I go any further I want to clarify that I'm not meaning Toms (as I personally dislike them) but instead the classic, rope detailed, canvas top espadrille, as seen on my ultimate style idol, Alexa Chung. Hardly a new trend; being a footwear staple since the 14th century, I think they just add the perfect amount of effortless chic to any outfit, whilst being versatile and classic enough to suit everything from slouchy jumpers and jeans, to summery, smart dresses!  

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7. Mink Bryony Sandal, from Mint Velvet - £99 | 8. Leather Espadrille Ankle Boots, from Zara - £69.99 | 9. Animal Print Lace Up, from New Look - £9.99 | 10. Flamingo Smoking Slippers, from Soludos - £65 | 11. Castaner Wedge, from Net-A-Porter - £75 | 12. Blue Lace Up Sandals, from New Look - £17.99 | 13. Lace Up Leather Sandals, from Soludos - £65

What's your favourites from the above - I'd love to know! I feel like I'm still on the hunt for the perfect espadrille a-la-Alexa, so if you find any - please do keep me posted!

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