FROM RACHEL JANE

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 / The Bangs Are Back




JUMPER: Primark
TROUSERS: ZARA
SHOES: Adidas Stan Smiths 
BAG: T2

I guess this post should probably feature some spangly images of loose leaf tea to coincide with expressing my dedication to the swanky tea shop ‘T2’. Now a firm favourite on my list of places to drag my boyfriend places to shop when in London, it seems my purchases have never ventured beyond the accessories department. Tote bags and tea bowls, my favourite things to buy from this amazing shop. Though I’m yet to pick from the insane variety of teas on offer (I work part-time at a rival store - it seems a little Judas of me), I’ve sure had a good old whiff of what’s on offer, and sipped away at one too many free samples when stopping by. I find myself going all ‘connoisseur’ and treating it as a wine tasting; slurping concoctions of flavours and trying to find a description besides ‘tastes like tea’ to show off with. Do yourself a favour (though not your bank account) and check out the website. I’m expanding my mini tea bowl collection - to more than one - and enjoying my morning coffee (treacherous) served up inside, like a posh little confused Japanese espresso. 

In other news, I’ve cut my hair. I’m still obsessed with the blunt chop, though I’m now firmly in lob territory (RIP to the bob). I’m letting it grow a little for summer having just surpassed the age 7 awkward phase/mullet and determined to achieve O. Palermo length by June. However, I couldn’t fight the feeling of craving a good old fringe much longer. I owe this predominantly to my kind and caring family who frequently referred to my ‘sleek and chic’ middle-parting-look as like that of a small prince, and actually a little bit ugly. Though their brutal words pierced my Kim K wannabe soul, I finally accepted the truth that my chubby face just does look better with hair covering half of it. So I went all Britney Spears 2007 and brought the bangs back with a homemade hack job. Life is already 2% harder with the added extra of washing and straightening the fringe each morning but it’s an alright price to pay for amples more hair volume and social acceptance from my teenage little sister. 

Well, still wearing all black, still thrilled that trainers are comfortable cool and still wishing I had friends more friends to take blog pics for me. Until next time, be sure to check out T2 and maybe even give the tea a try (I’m certainly planning on it!)
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Saturday, 16 January 2016 / Moving From Monochrome


Ah the bomber jacket. Versatile, smasual and inexpensive. It's been a loyal friend of mine since stealing my boyfriend's a number of years ago and being convinced I suited it more (he had little choice in handing its puffed goodness over to me). Continuing forth in a happy, trusting and committed relationship (with the jacket of course), I'm forever expanding my collection.

Alas the 'rut of black' prevails. Though there's nothing wrong with a strong loyalty to monochrome, I'm craving colour as I scan SS16 collections, and prepare to wave goodbye to snuggly nights and Mug Shots for tea. So, with the temptation to splatter my not-so-capsule wardrobe with a shade that isn't grey, I've began the hunt for a bomber that oozes a little more 'pizzazz' (camp). With some of these babies topping the 1K mark, I've gone for my usual 'maybe one day' method of compiling a wish list, with extra emphasis on the 'wish'; in reality, that money would be spent on more important stuff, like like a memory-foam mattress, By Terry Baume De Rose, or one singular trip to the cinema with snacks ($$$). 

Enjoy folks!




ps. Patterns count as pizzazz right?
L-R
Alexander McQueen
Gyunel
Jonathan Saunders 
New Look
Maison Kitsune
Needle & Thread


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Tuesday, 18 August 2015 / A Chat With An Icon


A few months ago, my best friend and I were fortunate enough to attend the NE1 'Fashion Futures' event at the Baltic Centre in Newcastle. Having handed in our final essay submissions, we headed straight to the event with promise of hearing local business entrepreneurs, Henry Holland, Laura Weir and Alexandra Shulman, discuss their success. Yep, Alexandra Shulman. The real Alexandra Shulman.



* My iPhone was inconsiderate with its quality on this day, obviously not realising the severity of the scenario
As an aspiring journalist, a lifelong obsessor of fashion (and Vogue, because of course the two go hand-in-hand), the prospect of listening to various success stories on entering the industry was an opportunity I could not humour missing out on. Wearing my navy polo neck jumper and wide leg trousers, I sweated my way down to the Baltic and endured the heat of the room itself with the jumper encasing my neck: if Alexandra Shulman spotted me in the crowd, I was determined to impress in my attire. Perhaps the beads of sweat caressing my face would prove a distraction.

The event itself was filled with prosperous fashion students, designers, and various people in the industry waiting to absorb the advice of those who have 'made it'.


First up; Michelle Taylor, Charis Younger, Kate Ablett and Darren Spurling. Or, to do justice to my excitement at this talk; the founder of Tallulah Love luxury lingerie, designer at All Saints, designer at Berghaus and Managing Director of Terry De Havilland international shoe brand. I was third row back, uncomfortably warm, but very excited. With my pen and paper at the ready, I scribbled down notes on how to make it from a North East town to the big city, or find success in your hometown. The key advice emerging from all four speakers was to "be resilient", and maintain your passion, even if it appears rejected by those around you. 


Each of the speakers were confident, humorous and oozed with exactly the aforementioned passion encouraged in their audience. After hearing a 'Day in the Life' of each individual, the speakers provided advice on seeking internships, and being recognised in the industry; heavily stressing the importance of networking and developing contacts. A note for those seeking internships in the industry, from journalism to marketing, was to continue pushing via email and physical letters until you receive recognition from someone within the business to which you're applying. It is not within my nature to be forceful but that resilience must emerge somewhere. The talk was interesting, humorous and helpful, though with less interest in the design aspect of fashion, it was the succeeding talks I was most excited for.


Laura Weir entered the stage with Henry Holland. Henry was hilarious, easy going and comfortable on stage. His advice was relatable as a young student trying to find their path in the big, wide world and his stories captivated the audience for the entirety of the chat. Though his entry to the fashion designing world appeared as a stroke of good luck, he emphasised the necessity of "a visual DNA that transcended [the] slogan" of his original t-shirt line. The quirky slogan shirts may have thrust his work into the fashion limelight, but his sharp wit, determination and knowledge of how fashion works has proved his worth in the industry. Laura Weir, an acquaintance of the designer, was chatty and approachable, exactly the type of fashion journalist I strive to embody: less so the 'interviewer' and, more so, the friend.



Of course, the reason for my attendance, my excitement and my slight anxiety was for the arrival of one woman: Alexandra Shulman, OBE. Following a brief interval, which included scoffing a posh M&S sausage roll (couldn't let Shulman catch me with a Greggs), I rolled up my now alarmingly warm sleeves and slipped my professional-looking glasses on. With a round of applause, and my nervous eye twitch, Shulman graced the stage. 


Her speech was as effortless and classic as the magazine to which she aligns her autograph. A chronological timeline of her life was provided, with tips, tricks and a couple of fortunate coincidences that have built this career woman into the success story she now is. Shulman was calm, and somewhat soothing to an audience of fans and fashionistas. Her story was modest and her advice was credible. My favourite points taken from the chat were to appreciate the process of working up the ladder, and to be proud of your voice. During question-time I could not resist the necessity to interact with such an inspiring woman. I queried the best advice for entering the fashion industry as an intern more than willing to be on tea-making duty all day, so long as I could network with creatives and chat about why handbags are important via our well-made cuppa and cheeky biscuit. Her advice was as expected, to show passion and not give up. 




It becomes hard to hear the same message on repeat that trying and trying again will eventually take you to where you wish to be, but perhaps hearing it from the fashion aficionado herself was enough to finally persuade me. I hope to not have to settle in my quest for a career within fashion and writing. The beauty of freelance writing is certainly allowing me to pursue applications for incredible jobs in-between sips of coffee and spell-checking (though seated in my pink fully dressing gown with 3 day unwashed hair is not the life of glamour I strive for). 


I knew this post would be a long'un because the talk required a justifiably decent review for how brilliant it was. I may not have blagged a job out of it, but I spoke to an icon, was inspired by locals and beyond, and managed to keep my polo neck jumper on for the entirety of the chat. So should you ever spot this post Alexandra Shulman (ha if only), I was the nervous ginger on the third row, slightly tacky with sweat to stay stylish in your honour, and frantically making notes on how to become Ms Shulman 2.0.



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Sunday, 9 August / LOVES, LONGINGS & AN APOLOGY


Long time no see! I've seen a number of blogposts apologising for absence, though usually this accommodates a certainty that there is a vast audience logging in each day praying to see a new post. Given that this blog exists as an outlet for testing out fancy words and awkward posing, I figure there's no one to apologise to. In the event that someone else is reading this besides my mother, my 'absence' is owing to my current 3 month internship and a preoccuption with starting Slimming World and managing to eat more chocolate than ever before (nothing inspires a Magnum ice cream binge more than someone telling you that creme fraiche and a toffee yoghurt will satisfy sweet cravings - my chocolate edged mouth begs to differ). Alas my long-awaited return (ahem) begins, and I re-enter the blogisphere with a compilation of some stuff I'm loving - this includes bits and bobs from my wishlist that I still can't afford, despite entering the working world, that I bloody wish I could. Let's call it 'loves and longings', because if I don't have a way with words after a 3 year degree in English then what do I have (... a Slimming World magnet ironically placed on my fridge).

Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in 'Adrienne' - I went to check out MAC 'Faux' when shopping recently and was a little disappointed with the 'dupable' nature of it (Rimmel's Kate Moss collection has a few similar nude mauve shades). Having read decent reviews of these Chanel lipsticks, I swatched a few and left my shopping trip obsessed with shade 402 -  Adrienne. with enough shine to glide on the lips and freshen a makeup look, combined with a gentle nude beige tone, this lipstick is my new everything. Or it will be, if I can ever justify £25 on a lippy...

Clarins Radiance Glow Booster -  This is something I've been desperate to try for a long time. A few drops of this is my moisturiser and my pale face sort of matches my tanned-ish bod (2 weeks in Portugal and 3 more freckles to show for it). I was tempted to buy this on the plane by its tax-free price tag. Add Jet2's extra 20% off and this baby was mine. I'm now glowing my way through writing this and debating dripping the stuff all over my sunburnt limbs.

Nina Ricci Perfume - There's something about the duty free section of an airport that feels almost like a limbo, a purgatory in which money isn't real and everything is shiny and appealing. With every turn you'll hear phrases such as 'well if you want it you'll never get it this cheap anywhere else'... GIVE IT TO ME. That is how Nina, my first ever perfume 5 years ago, re-entered my life. I'm now smelling sweet, if slightly sickly, and can confirm after checking my account, duty free money is very much real, just like my debt. 

House of Sunny Ribbed Crop Top - I've been eyeing this little number up since discovering the brand a few months back, when it was selling at full price. Now it's  reduced, it may be time to utilise the last of my student loan before accepting my new title as a graduate. The structure of this crop top would add emphasis to any outfit, it screams quality and... well i don't want to tempt you anymore incase they sell out.

'Eyes Shut' Years and Years - Everyone and their granny will have heard this by now but, given that I've never owned an iPod or Spotify and still frequently mistake band names with song names (anyone heard Foxes by Bodytalk? *silence*), I'm bragging about liking this one. Anyway, branching from Michael BublĂ© and musical soundtracks, my little sister shared her headphones with me en route to Portugal and I was welcomed to a world of adolescent angst and painfully cool-ness, oh and Years and Years. This is my new favourite song for sure, so give it a listen (or a re-listen if you're a 21 year old with a normal taste in music).

Well that concludes my latest short-story list. Back from my holiday, suffering with major blues and comfort eating my way through a bowl of raisins (HA, sure), I pledge to post more often. Until next time!
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Tuesday, 26 May / Skincare Essentials: Dr. Organic


I am forever in turmoil over the radically spontaneous nature of my skin. The fortnightly tease of a 'good skin day' is overruled by acne, oil and hyper pigmentation on more frequent occasion. Having checked my way through a medical shopping list of various gels, creams and tablets, I came to the devastating realisation that perhaps what was going onto my face wasn't causing what was going on on my face. So, along with attempting to reduce dairy ever so slightly (and failing, god dam you Whittard's hot chocolate), altering my contraceptive choice, and becoming an obsessive cleanser, I decided to look further into my skincare measures to solve the problem of 'problem skin'. 

My long-enduring best friend, flatmate and life advisor introduced me to Dr. Organic skincare back in second year of university, no doubt after enduring my latest rant over stressed-out skin and an inability to buy cheap, own-brand mozzarella in our local Tesco. We scurried into Holland and Barrett after a lengthy (ahem) gym session and in that moment, she converted me to a brand who take pride in utilising 'natural and organic raw materials'.  I began with using the Tea Tree soap as a cleanser, following the removal of my makeup. I've always taken immense pleasure in the simplicity of a bar of soap; transported with ease, looks fancy by the sink and takes a few minutes to soak the face before left feeling fresh. However, standard soaps can often leave the skin feeling dry and, in fact, overproduce oil, as they strip the natural oils from the skin. Well, my low-maintance, soapy needs have been satisfied with this little number. After removing my makeup with Bioderma, I lather this little guy into my hands and caress my face for longer than I need to, to revitalise and thoroughly remove any nastiness remaining on my sensitive skin. I can 100% say that I have noticed a huge difference in the appearance of my skin since getting personal with this soap. The soaps come in various types, from my favourite, Tea Tree, to Vitamin E and can be bought from Holland and Barrett (they often have offers on this brand, and throughout the store so take advantage!)

My love affair with the Dr doesn't end there however, as I have recently acquired his Olive Oil Day Cream.  This, along with an assortment of lip balms that appear to have finally rendered my lips acceptable for venturing outdoors (minus cracks and cuts), contribute to my opinion that this brand has truly revolutionised my skincare routine and, therefore, life. Perhaps it sounds extreme, but as a bad-skin-sufferer for almost ten years and a victim to stress-induced breakouts, it is exhausting to hunt for a helpful brand, and incredible to find one that settles these situations and uses natural ingredients. I urge you to give it a try and have fun experimenting with all Dr. Organic has to offer. Next on my list is the Snail Gel, purely for intrigue of this strange little pot of snaily goodness.



This brand has massively helped with the reduction of my acne, but I've also discovered another little gem for dealing with the aftermath: acne scars. Look out for a post coming up on that soon. 
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Monday, 11 May / Tips for the Stressed-Out Student


Given that my flatmates and I have ventured outdoors only one day this week, and, therefore, have remained in fleece loungewear throughout this duration, I have been unable to offer any form of ‘ootd’ throughout the past few weeks. Unless you wish to witness how I style my maternity joggers (I'm not pregnant, unless you count food baby, but these have proven a valuable gift from my mother during these biscuit-fuelled, revision times), leopard print dressing gown and assorted character socks, then I’m afraid we reach an unavoidable conclusion: I am not allowed to discuss personal style during this difficult time. Instead, given that I can’t remember a time before my current deadlines, and so the opportunity to discuss anything except Shakespeare is enough to make me physically smile, today I am popping something a little spicy up on my blog, and by spicy, I mean anything except the Iambic Pentameter. So here is my post to you today: an unfashionable, unadulterated and, hopefully not uninteresting, compilation of my current recommendations and general thoughts to pull you through uni stress. I will warn that this emerges as procrastination, so grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable.

Take a break
My preferred activity during this time is to watch ITV Be: I was originally unsure of the concept of this but now ‘struggle to find the remote and change the channel’ when Dinner Date, Don’t Tell The Bride or Millionaire Matchmaker is gracing the screen. These TV breaks are heightened by the commentary of my flatmates, who are an essential component to not losing your mind during exam time. If possible, try and make a few friends who are also decent at head massages, this has proven invaluable over the last few weeks.

Find a treat food that genuinely excites you
Is this embarrassing to confess? Perhaps. Digestive biscuits were my original holy grail, but the transition to Nice Creams has got me just about as excited as that time Harry Styles winked at me in the back row of an area at a One Direction concert (don’t argue, just let me believe it). Though for my more nutritious flatmates, figs, bran flakes and a light salad may satisfy their tasty cravings during revision breaks, I find the sugar of a cracking biscuit an essential tool for an afternoon’s graft. I sometimes opt for raspberries also, just to keep things interesting and the love handles at bay.

Read for fun
Whether this is your Twitter feed, Daily Mail Online (nothing will make you feel less stressed about your own problems than the ‘nightmare’ situations posted on that website), a few articles on The Guardian or a juicy novel you’ve been desperate to start. Cleansing your mind of equations, formulas, or in my case, darling William Shakespeare, will keep your work interesting and revitalised when you return to it: just make sure you do…

Listen to music
This is a tough one for me as I actually can't handle lyrics playing in the background whilst I work. The number of times I’ve began a sentence about a modernist author and it has concluded with the lyrics to a Taylor Swift track is astounding. I do, however, believe that a little background noise helps prevent the descent into insanity during this difficult time, so give instrumental tracks a try. My current favourite is a Disney compilation instrumental, though my inability to stop singing along is perhaps defeating the purpose. Either way, embracing Mulan’s ‘I'll Make A Man Out Of You’ is just the inspiring mantra I need to power through my essays.

Do not let it break you
We’ve probably all witnessed this in various forms. My 'breakdown' occured last year and involved lots of tears and subsequent pizza. More recently, I've experienced a number of physical screams circling our little house from a flatmate who just can't take it. For me, the key to overcoming the university breakdown was being surrounded by an incredible network of friends and family and their reassuring comments. Though it may not have felt like it at the time, I promise your degree isn’t everything/the end of the world. Try to remind yourself that you’re there for a reason. Whether you were chosen by interview or from your application, someone at some point decided they wanted you as a representative of their establishment. Allow yourself breaks without the guilt (though pizza guilt is a tough one to shake), talk about it when you’re struggling, drink lots of water (infused with coffee granules and milk…), and be proud of absolutely every decision you make, as there is no worse feeling than regret (and photographic evidence is surprisingly erasable).

My recent posts appear entirely related to university life at the moment which, though I do apologise for, is relatively unavoidable given my current situation. Roughly one more month then the last three years will officially become the ‘best days of my life’ as a generic term in conversation and exist only as memories. These tips emerge as a personal realisation that allowing the more difficult aspects of university life to overpower you, only diminishes the genuiney incredible times that you will want to always remember. So grab yourself a Nice Cream, snuggle up to a friend and have a good old bitch about life’s struggles. I promise you’ll feel 100% better before returning to your work. If not, use the sugar high for singing along to that Disney medley: you won't regret it.
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Sunday, 03 May / Place to Shop: GAP


My first encounter with GAP was a pale, duck egg blue fleece hoodie with the infamous letters boldy splurged across the front. I wore my blue fleece with pride, acknowledging this as my first entry to designer wear, whilst my older sister donned the identical version in pink. In our GAP jumpers, we joined the collective of school kids promoting the same attire: this being the latest trend craze, before the Jane Norman shopping bag or platform trainers. So long as my mum was dressing me in the morning, I'd be wearing my GAP. Nowadays, though she may no longer choose my outfits, my mum has continued to push me in the direction of this American-branded store for my casual basics and sports-luxe attire, establishing a relationship that has ensured a loyalty as strong as that to completing the "Lost" series (6 years of confusion and Josh Holloway appreciation). 

Last weekend, on a shopping trip with my aforementioned older sister and not-so-little little sister, we entered the realm of GAP and remained indoors for almost an hour. Granted, the 2 changing rooms and 6-person queue influenced this duration, but the mass of decent clothing held my attention for almost as long as Sawyer and Kate's "never have I ever" scene of season 1. Clambering into the changing room with more than I could afford to buy, I began the rigmarole of the dressing room routine which usually leaves me heavily disappointed and very much in-pocket. Instead, everything was nice. I mean everything. You know those 'yes'/'no'/'maybe' piles you're forced to create on really great shopping trips? The yes pile was stacking up and it was exciting.

From skinny jeans to lightweight bomber jackets, the cut of the clothing was adhering to the temperamental curves of my body that usually causes immense distress in changing rooms. I pulled back the curtain and smugly smiled to the sales assistant in response to his question "any good?". "I'll take it all". 

Perhaps this has become somewhat of a novella, and in fact, I purchased five items, not the entirety of the collection. But my point (if there is one), is that I found some quality clothing, in the perfect size, with a sale price reduced to a further 20% when I hit the till. Is there ever a greater feeling than that?! I returned the following day, unable to shake the thought of the pale grey utility jacket I'd become acquainted with on my first trip. Regrettably spending a further spritz of my work wages (though really not regretting at all), I genuinely felt sorrow waving goodbye to my new favourite shop. With my nearest GAP a small concession in a local department store, the probability of finding such success within the clothing rails again seems far in the future. Though with a now fully stocked wardrobe of key transition pieces to head toward the summer, via this gloomy month of April, perhaps that's for the best.

If you're of any shape (my sisters and I vary greatly between clothing size and eating habits: read - I can't put down the chocolate), and appreciate minimal basics with a relaxed yet sophisticated vibe, do check out GAP in its current state. Our love affair began many years ago, and we're still in the honeymoon phase. 








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