Is it possible to stay positive in negative circumstances?

If there’s anything I’ve learnt, it’s that positivity is not something that you can just choose to have. People seem to think it is, but it’s entirely human to be affected by the world, by seemingly insignificant events, by other people. As the saying goes, it’s okay not to be okay.

I’ve also learnt that negativity sucks a lot more when you really, really don’t want to feel it. That may sound odd initially, but you know there are those times and people in life – the ones where negativity is just the easiest way out? Putting everything down to “my life is awful” makes it seem a lot more like you’re not in control of your circumstances and life is just bad, all in all. If you feel negative about life and you want to change that, but just can’t shake it, it hurts a lot more. It becomes a steady journey to positivity that is tiring and takes a lot of time and effort. (It’s a healthy journey, one you should definitely take if you feel like you want your life to change – but it’s difficult!)

What I’m saying is there are a lot of people, myself included, who may feel kind of crappy from day to day. Who need the odd pick – me – up to remind themselves just how well they are doing and that they’re on the way to a better state of mind. If that rings a bell, this ones for you! Grab a cuppa, a notebook, and let me try to help in some teeny tiny way.

1. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT YOU’RE PROUD OF YOURSELF FOR.
Everything. Every single insignificant little thing. Gotten dressed, when you couldn’t face it yesterday? That’s amazing! Made lunch and looked after yourself today? Write it down! Written a blog post? Walked the dog? Made your bed? Be proud of everything you can be proud of, because you deserve to. You’ll have days when you ace job interviews, score a hot date, achieve your dreams, but they don’t arrive every day. So write down all the little things you’re proud of yourself for until another one of those days comes back around. Find that twinkly “if I can do that I can do this” feeling and KEEP it. (Keep this list nearby and look at it when you need a confidence boost – and don’t diminish your achievements!)

2. SELF CARE.
In case no one’s told you today, I hope you’ve eaten some veggies and drunk some water. (If you haven’t, go get some. I’ll wait) I hope you’ve looked at an old selfie and gone “WOW I’m fabulous”. I hope you’ve had some rest, laughed at something cute or funny (if you haven’t, here is a fave meme of mine to help) and I hope you have a good old pamper sesh. Stimulate your senses, and that might sound odd, but it’s what the professionals advise when you’re feeling out of touch.

3. REMIND YOURSELF THAT EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY, AND YOU’RE ON A JOURNEY.
I struggle with this one. I see happiness in the achievements rather than the journey itself – and how much do we miss out on by doing that? It might be years before you achieve what you’re longing for. It might be hours. But ultimately you don’t know, so find some fun in what you’re doing now. You want to just graduate already? Take pride in the fact you’re learning. You want to change your image? Think of how fun that will be! Even if you’re feeling the lowest you have ever or can imagine ever feeling – it will not last. Those massive hits of achievement you’re chasing won’t last either. It’s the little things in life that are constant and frequent, so you have to find some goodness in those.

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4. COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.
I would LOVE to have some of the things in people I see online (talking personality traits, not belongings, although there are some pretty fine handbags floating around Instagram at the moment) I adore and am inspired by go getting, sassy women. Even my music taste is ruled by them and my goal in life day to day is be one of them. I can’t do that everyday. I can’t be sassy and confident every single day, I’m not there yet. I don’t know if I ever will be, because what are we without our mistakes and our down days? Lord knows that social media and our society in general is very competitive and if you’re feeling down, it can make you feel a whole lot worse. I’m not saying don’t compare yourself to others, because you’ve heard it before, and it’s near enough impossible to do. Compare if you want, because I know you will – but remember that every person you EVER meet is jealous (or has been jealous) of something in someone else. We’re all trying to keep up, and until you just become happy with being you, and different from others, you’ll be anxious about things that other people don’t even notice.

5. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS.
For me, making a coffee, putting some lipstick on, and finding anything tagged with “girl boss” is a sure way to remind me of the sass-master I am. For you it might be the great outdoors, reading a book, baking a cake – what tiny things make you happy? A certain song? Person? Dress? Find something tiny and positive and throw yourself right into it. Then repeat with other little things, all day long.

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To conclude – this isn’t a definitive “I KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOU HAPPIER!” guide, and it’s not intended to patronise either. It’s just a little note to say hey, I’ve been there. I hope you’re okay. If all else fails, drop me a tweet (@LizzieArkell) and we can wallow in our rubbish feelings together (and I’ll send you a gif to cheer you up.)

Love Always,
Lizzie x

Life Update | I’m going to Prague!

IMG_4507Hey guys! It’s been a while since I blogged (d’oh) but I’ve got a real opportunity to get ahead of things again, inspire myself and create some great content. I’m jetting to one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Prague!

As I write this, it’s Thursday and I’m blogging in Costa (so cliched but I love it) and I’m leaving with the boyf on Monday. I’ve still got a million and one things to do, but I am literally counting down the days because OMG HOLIDAY YES PLS.

Charlie (the boyfriend) is completely to thank for this trip. Basically, he got it for me as a Christmas present last year and scheduled it so that we fly on Monday – our first anniversary! How perfect?! He’s literally whisking me away to Prague. *swoon*. Apologies for the romantic connotations but I can’t deny that this is the most thoughtful, romantic gift I’ve ever been given. Nothing is better than getting time with your partner, and in a gorgeous city you’ve never seen before? Win.

If that isn’t cute enough, we’re staying in a palace that’s been converted into a hotel, right in the centre of the city. We’ve got a day of sightseeing planned (and lots of beerhouse time planned too, of course) and our anniversary dinner. I am just praying the time doesn’t slip by too quickly, because I think this is going to be a trip to really remember!

Have any of you guys been before? Can you give me any tips on things to do? We’ve got one free day we’re looking to fill! Expect lots of pictures, maybe a video and a blogpost or two, and a LOT of “Prague beer is too strong for me” tweets.

Follow me to see what we get up to!

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Lizzie x

Autumnal Accessorising

hatHow do you go about elegantly accessorising when the weather turns as dismal as it has been lately? When all you really want to do is climb back into bed with a piping hot tea rather than think about colour coodination?

Well, there’s really an easy way of going about it and that is to keep things simple. The best thing about effortless style is just that-it’s effortless. Which means longer in bed, which is the main point right?

So here are my top 5 tips for Autumn Accessorising. Thank me when you’re enjoying that extra 5 minutes of snoozing.

1) Hats don’t mean a style sacrifice!

If anything, they’ll add a lot of edge to any outfit you wear. I love my collection of hats-they add that androgynous vibe that is so fun to rock later in the year and there’s so much more to choose from in the colder months! Try using dark or neutral tones to compliment whatever colours your outfit is made from.

2) Brown boots-a staple for any autumn wardrobe
As ever, tall, brown boots are all over Pinterest this season. Take it one step further and invest in something edgy-chucking on a pair of boots, particularly if they’re lined, is the comfiest way to keep yourself toasty and if they’re heeled they add that fierce edge to any outfit. (They also keep you elevated away from puddles!)boots

3) Use Scarves to your advantage
This tip is possibly the most important of all. Get yourself one of the scarves on the market at the moment-I’m talking one of those big, fluffy, cosy ones that could easily double as a blanket and wrap up. Mine was super affordable and is from Primark. Shop right, and grab one of the classically patterned scarves, preferably monochrome (dogtooth is a personal favourite of mine-read about that here) as it will go with near enough everything in your wardrobe! Classic, an easy way to add an accent to your outfit, and no one will guess that you’re napping in your makeshift scarf-duvet. Promise.

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4) Keep jewellery light
I don’t know about you, but when I’m caught out in the rain and I’m wearing a heavy necklace or bracelet, my immediate instinct is to take it off the second I get in the house. There’s something about soggy jewellery that really dampens my mood (pardon the pun) but leaving it out of my outfit entirely is just plain boring, particularly for a jewellery addict like me! So keep it light-think dainty chains and emblems on necklaces, and loose fitting bracelets rather than heavy bangles.

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5) Coffee counts as an accessory, right?
It always looks great in an Instagram post, particularly when the patterns on the cups from some of the coffee shops lately are so cute…and if it perks you up on a chilly morning, well that’s just an added bonus. Snap away!

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Well lovelies, I hope you enjoyed going through these tips! Make sure you check my social media for updates and share your Autumn Accessories with me! @LizzieArkell on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest 🙂

Lizzie xx

Can grown women wear Band Shirts?

As a music obsessive who’s also a lover of fashion, I love wearing band t-shirts. Whether I’ve bought them from shops, actual gigs, or festivals, I think there’s no better way to express something about you or create a specific look than to chuck one of them on. Yet so many women I know hate wearing them in public. “I love mine, but I just wear them as nightshirts” “What on earth would I pair it with?” “They’re so unflattering!” Sound familiar?

Wearing anything with a bands logo on it always seems to be linked to some kind of childlike fashion and is certainly a bold statement. So is it possible to style them in a feminine, confident way and still look great? I’ve enlisted some of the most fashion forward and confident music enthusiast ladies I know to figure out how to get away with it.

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Jessie Bartholomew is a recent English Literature Graduate from the University of Lincoln and has an eclectic taste in music (I get excited for car journeys with her so I can have a cheeky nose through her playlist). She describes her body as pear shaped and is a feisty looking blonde with a serious obsession with lipstick.

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Chloe Cattell is 18 and recently engaged (congrats Chloe and Craig!) and is seriously clued up on varying types of music (she puts me to shame). She’s slightly more petite, and has what seems like the worlds coolest 60’s wardrobe. Call her for a crazy night out with the best northern soul background music (my kind of girl).

Here’s what the girls were each wearing when I interviewed them-Chloe’s band shirt is a madness top she won in a bet (!) and Jessie’s is a quote from the fabulous Joan Jett, “I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation” (cue Shrek flashbacks).

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Chloe wears: Madness top (won in a bet), cigarette pants, topshop, white trainers, topshop, blue stud earrings, DKNY watch, The Gallerys wristband, vintage promise ring, engagement ring, hairbands

Jessie wears: Black sunglasses (free from a club-why do my friends get all their clothes in cool ways?) Slogan tee, H&M white shorts, new look, pumps, primark, watch, fossil, bracelet, thomas sabo, friendship bracelet, hairbands, floral ring, Dorothy Perkins

Thanks for meeting me girls! How many band shirts do you own?

Jessie: I’ve got 3 band shirts, 2 festival shirts, and 2 tops with music quotes on them.
Chloe: I’ve got 7.

What’s your favourite band shirt that you own?

C: Definitely Joy Division!
J: My Joan Jett quote shirt.

How often do you wear a band shirt out? Would you stick to wearing them in bed or do you wear them day to day?

J: I buy band shirts at every gig I go to, so some are quite old and I wear those as nightshirts. I wouldn’t think twice about wearing a band shirt out and about as long as it was an informal thing-but I also sometimes wear them on a night out with skinny jeans and heels.

C: My band shirts get worn out after not too long, so I’ll wear those in bed or just around the house. Because of what I do I can’t really wear them to work, but I also wouldn’t think twice about wearing them otherwise. It’s easy when you know how.

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How do you style your band shirts?

J: I find band shirts really plain, unisex and shapeless, so I’ll wear stuff like cardigans and skinny jeans with them in the winter that have more shape, to cancel out the fact there’s no shape in the shirt. In the summer I wear them with as little as possible! Maybe just some jewellery or a skirt to add some shape and femininity.

C: I think they’re quite versatile pieces, but I also like to keep whatever I’m wearing in tone with what the band are about. So today I’m wearing a madness top, who are a ska band, which is progressive from the mod era that I’m into. So on a day like today* I’ll pair it with cigarette trousers or maybe an A-line skirt. Band shirts are so versatile, chances are they’ll match with whatever you wear whether you dress them up or down.

*BLOOMING HOT

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What kind of accessories do you like wearing with your band shirts?

J: I never usually wear accessories, I just wear the same sort of things everyday like my watch and bracelets, but today I’ve added a floral ring and some silver earrings to make it a bit more feminine. My top is quite grungy so I didn’t feel like I needed to wear too many feminine accessories. With tops with gig dates on the back I’d wear a chunky necklace or something.

C: I’m not an accessories kind of person either, I wear the same accessories day to day which are more about who I am as a person. But I have to think about whether things go with the whole look. If I was wearing a plain top like my AM top, I’d feel like I could wear more jewellery.

Are band shirts just a grungy look or can you change them about?

J: Ultimately I don’t have a bad reputation like my top would suggest, but if i wore a stretcher and a nose piercing people might easily think that I did, so it’s easy to play around with a grungy look in this shirt. I think it depends. I wouldn’t exactly wear it to a job interview or meet someone’s parents.

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You guys are slightly different ages, do you worry about looking adult when you wear a band shirt?

C: When you wear a band t shirt you’re establishing who you are to the rest of the world, so I don’t worry about it too much. This is me, this is what I listen to. Some people might chuck it on with black jeans and be bish bash bosh out the door, and some people would dress them up, but as long as you’re smart about it you can premeditate how people will react.

J: I listen to the despicable me soundtrack on my iPod but I’d never wear that as a t-shirt! You can pick how you want to wear it. I don’t think it makes you seem younger because under 18s don’t necessarily get the same things out of gigs that others do, and with the joan jett shirt i’m wearing now, they might not know who she is. Obviously if I wore a busted top I would look younger, but I don’t think band shirts are a childish thing. You shouldn’t wear a band shirt unless you know 5 songs of the artist on the top! That’s annoying to me because it kills conversation if it’s just to create a look.

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For women who worry about how boxy shirts can be-do you think it’s easy to make them feminine?

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J: I’m proud of my body shape and boxy tops don’t let me show off my figure, so I get it. A boxy top is not the dream. It’s all about pairing them with stuff that accentuates your good bits-high waisted bottoms with a belt to accentuate your waist, maybe a cardi-or in the summer you can tie them up. It’s quite important, but if i’m just hanging out i’m happy to wear it just chilled-which is when it’s cool that they’re boxy!

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C: Yeah like, the sort of artists I listen to aren’t really grunge, they’re more retro, a bit older. They’re more of a declaration of self expression than a look to me but it is easy to make them look feminine when you know how. When you see a band t-shirt, you wouldn’t necessarily immediately go “I could put a belt with that or tie it in” but it’s easy once you know how. I personally love making them look feminine, and they’re such a key wardrobe piece because there’s so much you can do with it. It’s sort of like a blank canvas.

J: I think you buy a band shirt for the band, not the top, and then you have to work with what you’ve got. You do have to work harder with band tops than any other top you might buy but I don’t think they’re harder to wear overall-don’t be put off because they’re boxy!

Some of my readers have said it takes a lot of confidence to wear a band shirt-would you agree?

C: It takes a lot of confidence to wear band shirts anyway, because you’re sort of putting yourself out there and people make a judgement on you because of wearing-but people are going to do that anyway! They really do. There’s no reason girls should shy away from boxy shirts because other people shouldn’t care if they can’t see or you don’t have a waist but if you’re feeling like you’re worried, there’s so many ways around it. There are so many ways to customise and personalise things, you just need a bit of confidence.

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J: I’m a really confident person, so I could argue my taste in bands, but I’m not confident in my body. So when band shirts show my bum or tummy or arms, my problem areas-problem areas, such a stupid phrase!- I would then customise them. I’d tuck it up to make it look cropped, so it’s purposeful or tuck it in so it’s not a problem anymore. Just because something is unflattering on its own doesn’t mean you can’t make it flatter you! I can completely see where that has come from.

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C: There’s always illusions- a boxy shirt could make it look like you’re just hiding a waist! I’ve definitely been there though.

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So in conclusion, looks like a little tweak and a spoonful of confidence is all you need to wear a band shirt! Get those babies out of your pajama drawer and on your back where they should be…

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Thanks to Chloe and Jessie for their input!
How do you feel about wearing band shirts out? Tag me in your pics!

Lizzie xx

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