Thursday, 26 April 2018

Six Things I've Learnt From Long Distance!

Dear readers,

It's been a while however I've returned after yet another lengthy hiatus with this blogpost which is a collaboration between my Zeki and I. I don't think i've ever gotten so personal before on a blog post so I am admittedly hesitant. If you follow me on Instagram you may be aware that my now fiancé and I embarked on a long distance relationship as of January last year. There's no way about it, long distance sucks and it's easy to wallow in melancholy at the trials and tribulations of it. However if you can look passed the obvious adversities, there are some things to be learned and gained from the experience. I'd just emphasise that each relationship is of course unique therefore our experiences aren't necessarily ubiquitous but I do nonetheless want to impart what we personally acquired from long distance. Ultimately, this post focuses on the silver linings of long distance, so without further ado...

Having a joint vision
One principle point that has guided our relationship through the distance is our joint vision and our trust in it as well as each other. When you and your partner have a joint vision with an end goal in sight whether that be seeing each other more frequently in the long run, moving in together or even getting married; you work as a team in striving towards making that goal a reality. There will be periods where there will be a paucity of time, where you won't be able to overcome the conflicting schedules and time zones. One thing that helped us cope was knowing that you as a couple, as farfetched as it may be, having paths that will eventually intersect and that your endeavours aren't in vain. This vision aided us in being able to empathise with each other, especially when we haven't been able to connect emotionally or mentally in a while. For us, that vision is marriage and God willing to spend the rest of our lives together.

Realising you've taken each other for granted
As cliche as it may sound, not having the liberty and luxury of seeing one another on a daily basis adds an element of appreciation to how you perceive each other. Especially since your main source of contact is dependent on frail internet connection. When even video-calls are difficult to arrange and meetings become scarce, you find yourself missing their company, their smell or voice, you picture how they would have responded to something you've seen or heard that day. It's those small simple things one longs for the most. You begin to appreciate every moment you spend together on the rare occasions you do actually see each other. I find that we exert more effort into making memories together than we did prior to long distance. Recently, I traveled to Turkey for my friend's wedding as well as to see Zeki's face for a week... you know, two birds with the one stone. During that week we utterly refused to be cooped up indoors and seized every opportunity to complete a pilgrimage of our favourite haunts as well as explore uncharted places.

Closing the distance 
Showing affection and making sure the other person knows how much they mean to you can be manifested in a plethora of ways whether that be vocally or as a gesture. To state the obvious, residing thousands of miles away from one another reduces your means of communication as they aren't compatible with the distance. Thus, to reduce the both literal and figurative distance between you, you have to be more expressive and invest more effort. Staying up an extra hour, reminding them how much they mean to you, sending care packages of their favourite treats when they least expect it speaks volumes and can really nurture a relationship, as schmalzy as it sounds. There's nothing more heartwarming than facing the daily grind by waking up to a heartfelt message or an adorable 'vlog' of what your other half has been up to!

'Save your arguments for the big ones'
Something my mother will time and time again reiterate  is to 'save your arguments for the big ones'. I admit I didn't fully appreciate this until I returned to Manchester. I am a hyper-sensitive, high strung and occasionally capricious person, with the inclination to become irked by matters and not address them in an effective manner which often results in matters blowing completely out of proportion. Long distance communication can be rife with misapprehensions and hurt if you aren't open about something that is troubling you. Disputes can't always be avoided however can often be resolved when two people sit down together and talk it through.  In long distance with the physical component being missing it really depends on you to communicate if something is on your mind, otherwise the other person remains oblivious and over time these things can accumulate leading to you either imploding or exploding. The aftermath of it can be even messier and difficult to salvage when meeting up to discuss matter and smooth things over isn't an option.  I've noticed that over the past year I've become increasingly selective and discerning about my arguments and will often immediately tell my other half if something isn't sitting right with me and in turn he has become much more responsive and in tune with my feelings. With time, the more this was practiced the more it was incorporated into our routine.

Successfully overcoming and combatting the hurdles within our relationship due to the distance, in turn has made our relationship as well as us more resilient to strain, failures and life events in general over the past year and a half. I find that I'm less discouraged when things don't go as anticipated and I'm more willing to dust myself off and start over which is something I wouldn't have been able to muster the courage to do beforehand. Long distance has also emboldened mfiancé in becoming even more determined to succeed in applying for his masters in the UK, regardless of the hindrances he faces.

Personal growth
In the absence of your significant other, you unsurprisingly have an abundance of time on your hands and an opportunity to improve qualities and skills you may already posses or you can broaden your repertoire by acquiring more. This doesn't mean that nothing gets done with your partner around, however in order not to brood over things which I have the tendency of doing when left entirely on my own, it's best to put that superfluous time to good use. This could be as simple as improving your photography skills, to taking up a hobby, to recommencing education. With the amount of time I've spent on my own in the past year and a half I've managed to immerse myself into a diverse number of self improvement projects; I've started university again, I've learnt how to sew (there's a blogpost dedicated to that), I've opened up an Etsy shop and I've become an active reader once more.

Outfit details

Dress: Marks and Spencer Constellation dress:
Velvet mary jane shoes: Mango
Chain clutch bag: Accessorize
Chiffon hijab: Ebay
Arm candy: Zeki

Friday, 2 February 2018

Outfit Post: Where I Acquire My Clothes featuring My Classic Novel Tote Bag!

Hello there my dear readers,

I come to you today with some of my a curated list of where I acquire my clothes. I think it's safe to say that I have a passion for shopping (euphemism for problem more like) and will happily ramble on fervently about style and decades to anyone who will listen. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I'm fairly eclectic about the sources of my most worn and cherished items.
The shops that I find myself again and again gravitating towards and which cater for my style and budget are:

Zara: Where to begin, I discovered Zara when I was 18, I happened to be passing by and curiosity got the better of me as I'd heard of it often but associated the store to beyond my student budget. It was towards the end of the January sales and I emerged from the shop, proudly clutching a bag containing 3 midi skirts costing me a total of £20. Thus began my love affair with Zara and its sales which perpetuates until this very day.

Mango: Admittedly I'm not drawn to multiple items at a time in Mango however each season there will always be the one item that captures my attention entirely! 

H&M: I rely heavily on H&M for my affordable basics, more specifically for my opaque chiffon shirts which have proven to be so versatile that I've amassed one in every colour they supply!

Charity Shops: They're a hit and miss, but I love the uncertainty and element of surprise to rummaging through the masses of frogs and squealing with delight when I encounter a beautifully made vintage skirt or cosy jumper!

Depop: I discovered Depop properly last September and it has been an absolute game changer! It's an app for buying and selling clothes that have been previously owned. Via Depop I can access items that have seasonally discontinued or even current items that are beyond my budget range for a much much discounted affordable price. For instance I have recently acquired the adorable Miss Patina Space Walker Jumpsuit in pristine condition for £17 from a seller who had second thoughts, similarly I was miraculously able to snag the Miss Patina Cat Collar Shirt that I've coveted for the longest time for £14 (yes I'm very pleased with myself)! Feel free to follow my Depop @vintagonista!

Dressmaking: Over the past year I have become increasingly more self reliant when it comes to my clothing and accessories. Unless it works out to be more costly than the retailing version of an item, I will proceed to fashioning my own! There's something so satisfying about being able to wear something that you have created and are the sole owner of. I have also recently started catering to a larger audience with my dressmaking which brings us on to my final source of obtaining clothes...

Etsy: Etsy is the home to all things quirky and made with love! I've currently begun selling reversible tote bags in an array of themes; if you're a literature/classics aficionado, a mathlete, a photography enthusiast or just an appreciator of quirky tote bags, then I highly recommend you give my Etsy shop a browse! Depending on demand more bags will follow with themes such as music, cacti and rabbits! As a means of giving back, 10% of proceeds go to Amnesty in the hopes to make with world a more humane and just place! Feel free to follow my shop and remain updated on new arrivals!

My classic novel bag is featured in today's outfit post for you guys to behold in all it's glory!


Outfit details: Handmade Etsy bag, Zara coat, plaid wool skirt made by me, Zara embroidered peter pan collar bluse and Clarks brogues!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Handmade Novelty Tote Bags!

Hi there folks! So I've returned from the woodworks to announce that I've set up an Etsy shop selling handmade novelty tote bags, makeup bags and pencil cases! Should my venture be successful I hope to branch out to custom dressmaking orders!

My first listing is this beautifully crafted, applique, classic literature novel librarian tote bag! I'd also like to state that 10% of all proceeds will go to Amnesty!

My second bag for sale is this quirky vintage camera print  and gingham reversible tote bag!

Thirdly, this math calculation print tote bag for all the mathletes out there!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Outfit Post: Plaid to Meet You!

It's that time of year again, the streets are emblazoned with thousands of twinkling fairy lights illuminating the way home through the dreary winter darkness, the shops are adorned with greens, reds and golds and the streets are saturated with the mouthwatering smells wafting from the Christmas markets. It's my first Christmas in the UK in what must be years and I'm beguiled by the atmosphere of Manchester at this time in the year!
My tartan pinafore for this post was inadvertently in time for the festive season, how very fitting! You know the drill at this point; for years I covet and envisage an item of clothing that doesn't exist, sighing wistfully when I see something remotely similar yet lacking in some shape or form from what I desire it to be. Now courtesy of my burgeoning sewing skills I'm able to make my sartorial dreams a reality! This time it's an utterly adorable (even if I say so myself), tartan/plaid, pleated, surplice neckline pinafore dress. On this occasion my source of inspiration was the vintage catholic school pinafores; since I didn't have a pattern at hand to guide me, I ventured into the unchartered territory of improvisation.  The freedom of this can be quite overwhelming yet brings a whole host of troubleshooting. The general idea was that I evenly pleated the skirt section of the dress and crafted my own straps which proved to be more cumbersome than I bargained for nevertheless I got there in the end! The dress truly does serves its purpose as a uniform as I don't seem to be wearing anything else lately! My beloved peter pan collar blouse complements it perfectly along with my t-bar school shoes... yes, primary school outfits seem to be a recurring theme in my recent blog posts!

Outfit Details: Dress: me made, Topshop wicher basket bag, Romwe peter pan collar blouse and Clarks shoes

Photographs courtesy of my dear friend Maram!
Many thanks to my amazing sewing teacher Kate!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Autumn Lovers Cliché

I believe it's safe to say that I'm the epitome of an Autumn-lover cliche and all the simple pleasures that accompany it. Surely it can't just be me who derives so much satisfaction from crushing lone acorns on my home from work, wading my way through the masses of crinkled autumn leaves, noting the nuances between them; some mustard, some burnt orange, some a muted red and some the transition from summer and autumn summarised in the form of a leaf, feeling inexplicably warm inside when passing shop fronts decked with pumpkins and all that Autumn inspired goodness, upping my cosiness game by swathing myself in layers of jumpers and having a genuine excuse to implement my love for mustard and denim outfit combinations into my routine. As if I required yet another reason to be smitten with this season, I became engaged to my other half!

On that sentimental note, I would steer your attention to my outfit which let's face it is Autumn in a nutshell; turtleneck jumper, check.. woollen skirt, check... fall palette, also check. I'm sure it will also come as no surprise that this was as per usual a very affordable ensemble! The star of the show being this vintage plaid skirt which I encountered whilst sifting through the rails upon rails of second hand clothing at the kilo sale aka gold mine in the Northern Quarter for a mere £5! Initially I was indecisive as I feared it would be that tad bit large for my waist, in the end thankfully I thought better of it and followed the saying a most prudent person stated 'He who hesitates is lost...or she' (prudent being Captain Widdershins as any book fiends will know all too well is from The Series of Unfortunate Events). The issue was easily resolved with a chunky jumper tucked in so as to compensate for the excess space. I'm a real sucker for anything remotely within the plaid/tartan/check category... they tend to be such timeless yet statement prints. Plaid is one of those prints you can either revolve the rest of your outfit around, as the variety of colours within the print tend to provide a general adherable colour scheme ... or you can afford to be on the adventurous side by colour blocking and pattern clashing. I initially intended on wearing this skirt with a bland cream blouse until it occurred to me that this deep burgundy/bordeaux turtle neck would complement it perfectly! I completed my attire with my absolute gem of a rocket bag, dependable brogues and coat.

Outfit Details: Vintage plaid skirt, Primark jumper, Accessorize rocket bag, H&M coat and Clarks brogues

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Budget DIY: Transform Your Bargain Frame into an Urban Outfitters-esque Hanging Frame!

It occurred to me that despite the frequency of budget DIY projects that I engage in so as to transform the small box bedroom that I inhabit into my very own sanctuary, I seldom divulge them on here. 
Lately, I've both discovered and become enamoured with the delicate vintage glass hanging/floating frames that have been on trend. I've amassed a few affordable ones which I've searched high and low for thanks to my abstemious tendencies (the links to which i'll place below). I carefully arrange and enclose pressed flowers and leaves in them and it instantly provides the room with a botanical/naturalistic vibe which is the theme that my little den is centred around, I'm especially partial to those in gold or silver as the exude an antique feel. As aforementioned if you too are smitten with them but cannot however commit to some of the extortionate prices usually ranging between £8-£20 at H&M, Urban Outfitters and your usual independent shops, then you're in luck! Being the thrifty person that I am, I've deduced the reasonably priced versions, one of which is from Wilkos for a mere £3. Over the past month I've walked past it, wistfully wishing it came without the tacky clichéd print along the bottom or the ribbon tie, it just was not my cup of tea. One day I had an epiphany moment; the drawbacks that I fussed about could very easily be resolved with the tiniest amount of effort.  So I took initiative and present you with this simple tutorial that doesn't exceed 15 minutes:

1) First and foremost, have all your required materials at the ready; the frame of choice, a penny, scissors and a length of twine.

2) As can be seen, the quote is in a frosted silver cursive. Proceed to unhinging and opening the frame to expose the side on which the writing has been printed.

 3) In order to test out whether your penny is the appropriate instrument to use you may want to perform a gentle scratch test on the tip of the writing at an angle of 45 degree angle. If you're pleased with the result proceed to using the same technique on the remaining letters. Blow away the debris every so often to discern the detached pieces from areas you may have overlooked. Note that in order to avoid etching and abrasion of glass go about it gently and take your time... the end result will be worth the time you've invested.

4) Once you have removed the writing, remove the undesirable ribbon or material and replace with the same length of twine. Snip off the excess ends... and voila there you have it, you very own inexpensive hanging frame!

I have yet to style and find a home for the frame along with the others which I'd be happy to showcase in a blogpost if any of you were interested... for now though, here's the frame in all it's glory!

Frames: Herehere and here