Winds of Change

It feels like forever since I last shared an outfit on the blog- and it has been a long time for me. It’s a combination of things…being much busier these days means I have less time for taking photos and writing posts and I’ve also been feeling pretty uninspired by my wardrobe and it’s contents. Still, I recently received another item of clothing from Stylewise Direct- the fashion clothing wholesaler so set aside some time, wrestled with my tripod and got to it.

Dress c/o Stylewise Direct | Boots: River Island

I’ve written about Stylewise Direct a few times now so I’m not going to repeat myself, if you want to find out more about them and what they do then please check out my earlier posts here and here. Apologies for how creased the dress is in the photos, I failed to iron it before putting it on (standard Laura practice) and yeah…I have no excuse really.

It’s a great dress though, it ticks all of the things I want in my wardrobe at the moment- denim, embroidery and loose fitting.

I can’t say I’m happy with these photos, they are wonky, I hate how I look in them and I was battling against high winds. I didn’t have time to re-take them so I’m continuing my battle against my inner perfectionist and sharing them anyway. That kind of brings me in to doing a little update about life. On the whole life is great- work is going really well, I’m ridiculously happy in my relationship and it finally feels like everything is slotting in to place for me. Of course a large part of that (and it feels, quite literally large) is my ongoing recovery from anorexia. It’s picking up pace, which is great, really great. I’ve finally pulled my head out of the sand and am doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing. It’s taking it’s toll though on my self perception. My confidence in how I look is rock bottom, I can see and feel every minute change in my body, ones that nobody else is likely to pick up on. That is another reason for the recent lack of outfit posts and one I try to keep quiet about, but it’s also real life and part of who I am. I’m trying to accept I still have a few kilos to gain before I’m where I need to be, and that once I get there things will settle and I will start to appreciate and nurture the healthy body I have created. In the mean time my mantra has become “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” and just keep ploughing through.

Life on the whole is bloody brilliant. I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever been this happy. Eating disorder recovery remains ridiculously hard- no matter how much you want that healthy life and body and everything that goes with it, there’s still that little demon residing in your head screaming at you that you don’t need this weight, you don’t need this food and you don’t deserve this life.

But now I accept that’s part of it. And it’s probably harder now that it ever has been because there is no going back this time. This is final. This is it. At the grand old age of 30 I am finally re-claiming my life.

Apologies for the ramble, I feel like this has been brewing for a while. I’ve always been upfront about my battle on this blog and I suppose now, sharing the recovery process with these random updates a selfish process to remind myself of what I’m doing. In some ways this blog serves as a record of achievement for me, so do feel free to skip over such posts in the future, I won’t mind!
On a lighter note, what style of dresses are you loving right now?

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Summer Nights

I actually featured the dress in this post last month in a post where I really wasn’t happy with how things turned out. Thankfully, with the recent bout of glorious weather I had a second chance to grab some photos and I’m much happier with the result.
It’s one of those dresses I bought with a dual purpose in mind, easy to dress down as I attempted to show in my April blog post, and also one that can lend itself to being a bit more formal…and that’s what I’ve tried to capture today.

Dress: Monki | Ankle Boots: New Look

It might be summer (in name at least) but I’m still not ready to let those ankle boots go. I’m still on the search for the perfect, semi-dressy and comfortable sandals- I own plenty of pairs that match one of the criteria but am yet to find the holy grail that meets all three. Please enlighten me on where I might find the perfect pair!
And whilst I’m looking back on my April post, how is that inner critic silencing going? Well, it’s certainly been tested lately as things haven’t 100% gone to plan- not that life ever does, it would be boring if that were the case but I am noticing that I am much better equipped to deal with these hiccups right now. Less likely to internalise and take it out on myself, more likely to let off steam in a healthy manner with a good, old fashioned rant.

It’s not always the case, of course. Sometimes those critical gremlins win out, but given that most areas of my life are vastly improved these days it’s getting easier to rise up again when I get knocked down.

Back to the outfit and this is definitely one I have marked for date nights over the summer. I’ve become quite the fan of slip dresses lately and Monki has a huge selection putting temptation in my path (this one and this one especially). Thinking about it, I’m yet to try Monki for shoes and they have some really awesome looking pairs online- can anyone vouch for the comfort and quality? I feel I’m going to have to try a few pairs on when I’m next in store, hopefully in the next couple of weeks…a shopping trip is long overdue and I’ve been saving hard. Who’s counting pairs of sandals owned anyway?

Incidentally this the first set of outfit photos I took on my new camera- remember how I was asking for advice? I went for the Canon EOS M10 compact system camera in the end and so far I’m impressed!

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In the Pink

The high street is a very tempting place right now. Everywhere I turn there are pieces that find themselves added to my ever-growing wish list and it’s a great source of frustration to me that I can’t afford the all out spending spree that I am so desperately craving.

A few weeks ago on my birthday I went over to Bath for the day with my Mum, Grandad and Brother and we found ourselves in Primark. I was trying my best to avert my eyes from all of the new season arrivals but there was one dress that I saw and couldn’t forget no matter how hard I tried. In the end Mum kindly stepped in and treated me (30th birthday perks!) and I’ve been waiting impatiently for the weather to be good enough to wear it.

Dress: Primark (and only £10) | Shoes: Long Tall Sally (gorgeous alternative)

Pink isn’t usually a colour I go for when it comes to clothing, although given that it’s supposed to be one of THE colours of the season I guess it’s going to get harder to avoid. There was something just so appealing about this dress, it’s girlier than most things I own and probably a bit dressier as well which makes it perfect for date nights and my ever growing social life.

It also has great potential to be dressed up further with some super high heels and jewellery, or taken in the other direction and worn as a casual piece with converse and a denim jacket. I’m still on the mission for the perfect denim jacket so if anyone has any suggestions then please do let me know.

For someone who has suddenly got a lot more happening in her life I seem to have very little to say for myself at the moment. I’m busier and happier than I have been for a very long, things are starting to move in the right direction in all areas of my life and at some point I’ll probably sit down and do a more in depth update on my recovery journey. In the mean time I’m taking things one day at a time and mostly loving every second. I didn’t dare believe it when people said to me that 2017 would be my year, after such a horrendous 2016. Five months in and I’m starting to accept that maybe they were right. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but things are certainly on the up and better than I ever dared hope.

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Learning to Silence my Inner Critic

Initially I wasn’t going to use the set of photos below in a blog post. They aren’t quite right and don’t show the outfit as I wanted it to be shown. But it got me thinking about something that’s been running along in the background of my mind for a while now and so actually, from something imperfect I’m able to write an altogether different to what I planned blog post.

Dress and Tee: Monki | Converse from Schuh

So basically these photos triggered a whole big train of thought about my long-standing battle with perfectionism. I didn’t set any resolutions at the start of 2017 but it was always a goal of mine to try to get more control over my issues with, well, control and making everything “just right”. It’s something that has governed my life for as long as I can remember and has been an undercurrent to my anorexia since the word go. Ever since I started this journey of recovery back in the Summer last year I knew that to get any degree of success I would eventually have to learn to live more in the moment and less in a micro-managed bubble, and now, almost a year on I’ve realised that actually I am less ruled by it than I can ever recall being.

Now, I don’t have a secret to my success. It’s been a long battle and a lot of it is still very much trial and error. There are a couple of things that I have found really helpful though- the first of that being a course of CBT which saw me learn how to break my self-imposed rules (like actually being on time for things instead of constantly ten minutes early, or to accept a spontaneous invitation). I’m awaiting a start date for a more intense course which will delve more in to the root causes but even the basics gave me the tools I needed to start to break free.

The second thing that made a massive difference was learning the art of mindfulness. It’s always been something I was wary and dismissive of, but having been persuaded to give it a go by various people I decided I had nothing to lose and started to dedicate 5-10 minutes a day to it. I initially went with the Headspace and Calm apps but also made the purchase of “A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled” by Ruby Wax which proved to be a witty, relatable account of her own struggles as well as containing a six week guided programme which has helped me no end.

Of course it’s not for everyone but I thought it worth sharing these thoughts as they spill out of my mind. As ever with me partly so my blog can serve as a “record of achievement”, but also in the hope that even one person might read this and find something that could help against their own demons.

And the result of all this? Well, it’s only recently that the rewards have become evident. From challenging my social anxieties and attending a Blog Club Brunch in Bristol to attending the Grandaddy gig the other week. Spontaneous plans with friends have been followed through instead of a “yes, I’ll do it” followed shortly by a swift “no, actually I can’t today”. I’ve also found myself in the early days of a new relationship, in which I could not be happier (and that was a true case of spontaneous actions paying off) and I’m now able to relax, read, listen to music or watch a film without a constant state of panic and dread that I might have forgotten to do something vital.

I’ve literally just sat here and banged out this post in the last 45 minutes without any real intention of doing so- that’s definitely something I couldn’t have done six months ago! But with that comes the risk that it’s a whole lot of nonsense, utter drivel and full of poor grammar and punctuation mistakes…but you know what? That’s ok. Real life isn’t perfect and it doesn’t need to be perfect to be wonderful, and for me, that is the greatest lesson of them all.

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The Details

I’m not entirely sure what to say about this outfit. It’s one of those that isn’t typical “Laura” style and yet it’s one I really liked. As I’m still working very much part time at the moment I’ve really been embracing the casual approach when I’m at home- it’s gone from being a bit of can’t be bothered kind of thing to something that I can relax and enjoy.

Tee: Daisy Street | Jeans: Noisy May at Very | Shoes: New Look

It’s a bit of an embroidery detail overload here but I’m rollin’ with it. The jeans were a bit of an impulse buy to be honest, not my standard skinnies by any stretch of the imagination. I was suckered in by the “sorry I’m late I didn’t want to come” slogan (despite I’m never late for anything, ever!) and when they arrived I was quite taken with the laid back fit. It’s good to change things up from time to time right?

I pretty much lived in this Daisy Street tee last year, on rotation with the three others I own and now the warmer weather is here I don’t see that changing any time soon. I’ve already declared my love of slogan tees so I won’t ramble on but they really can’t be beat.

The shoes were another impulse buy. Enamoured with the floral embroidery and pretty pink colour I couldn’t resist placing a sneaky New Look order a few weeks ago despite my preference for either ankle boots of converse. I’m determined to get the wear out of these though, they are just so pretty (and comfortable) and pretty perfect to bridge that gap between boots season and sandal season.

Ok, so essentially this is a post about nothing much in particular. I just wanted to share the outfit without really having anything to say for myself. I’m still in that re-adjustment period of being back in work, settling in to routine and building up a pretty nice life outside of it too. I’ll try and bring something more structured to the table next time and in the mean time…what have you been buying lately?

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