Thursday, July 23

Happy is the new black.

When we're happy we give off a vibe to those around us. It's not about how good our hair looks or how firm our butts are- we're happy, and that's what people notice.

We all care a little too much about our looks and when we're unhappy with ourselves, it comes across. It's unlikely that anyone will think "Oh so-n-so's makeup isn't great this week" or "her thighs are rubbing a bit more than usual" just because we've been thinking those things. But those feelings will rub off on others; an unsettled, awkward feeling that can put people off or set them on edge.

Now if you're one of those people who thinks like that about your fellow creatures on a regular basis you need to lighten up and stop being so hard-core judgemental! We all judge, don't get me wrong, we are human. It's in our nature to determine our opinions about others based on appearances. BUT try and be nice and don't hold one's appearance against her; good or bad.

With regards to fashion, were so lucky to live in a time with so few rules. It is perfectly acceptable to embrace your own style or create a new one. There's tons of body acceptance movements so any size of person can experiment and be awesome with fashion. There's loads high street stores with accessible fashion, charity/second hand shopping is huge and cool and so is clothing modification! Even if your skint, get creative and just rip up your jeans or cut up your dad's old shirt and voila! You can be trendy again.

There really is tons to be happy about in fashion and in life, really. Gone a bit sentimental now but whatever...

 This summer, Be Happy! It's something that looks super hot on everyone.


Thursday, July 2

My Body Dysmorphia (it's not what you think!)

I've rather recently become aware that the image I hold of myself is not exactly the same as the one I realistically, well, am, in real life.

As vain as this sounds I've always thought I was fairly photogenic. I'm not saying I'm perfect in any way, shape or form, but I take an ok picture. It's only recently I've become aware that the way I feel on the inside (sexy!) doesn't always come across in photos!

*For the record I don't ALWAYS feel like *a model* and I'm not trying to be an asshole- It sucks we have to be apologetic for liking ourselves, but I know I'm not like a tiny size 2 or whatever so don't feel like you have to shame me because I'm a size 10! I know I have flaws, we all do. Yes, haters, even you.*

But it's like Neo in The Matrix and his "residual image"; how we all imagine ourselves to look isn't necessarily based on reality. Well, my residual image is definitely better than the real thing but, hey, it feels good to be her on the inside anyway! ;) 

Who is your residual image based on? Fact or fiction? Is it a good thing to think you look better than you actually do, or is it just annoying?? 

Ps! I realize body dysmorphia can be a very real, very dangerous concern and I hope I don't offend anyone by seeming to make light of this issue. But I feel it's important we face it from all angles and sometimes focusing on the positives can work wonders!

Tuesday, April 7


I wanted to write a little post of gratitude since I've been neglecting my blog in lieu of preparing for my daughters 2nd birthday party on Saturday- if you've ever been to any of my parties you'll know there has to be a theme, so this one is 1950's diner style! Super excited but by creating these little soirees I'm giving myself about 100% more work than if it were just say, birthday party themed (as if 12 toddlers and preschoolers running around on sugar highs isn't enough) but it's fun and gives me something to put my energies into.

I have also been preparing for a visit from my family from overseas- like, all of them!!! Dad, Step-mum, brother and his GF are ALL flying over this week (SQUEEEEE!!!). It's been two years since I've seen any of them in person, I've never met the girlfriend and none of them have my 2 year old!!! The last time I visited Canada I was about 13-14 weeks pregnant with her, and my big one who is now 4 was not even 2 when we went.

So I've got lots to be grateful for, and I'm really very grateful for those of you who are regular visitors to my sporadic posts; including my newfound readers from Russia! Holla!! Please leave me some comments, I'll have 'em translated if necessary! But that goes for those of you who speak my native tongue as well! Id be ever so grateful for some feedback and since I'm feeling so grateful, any input would be graciously received. I promise not to hurl insults back at any constructive criticism.(Be kind tho, no mean shit.).

 I've got some bugs to work out of my fashion profile series- I'm having technical difficulties with some photos. Which I know is implausible to anyone more technologically savvy than me..so pretty much everyone. But I'll try to check in and do a little this or that over the next 3 weeks while my fam is here... Any requests?

What has everyone else been up to for spring/Easter break? Any style moments or un-moments (ie BAD) I need to hear about??


Friday, April 3

Spring Beauty mini-haul!

As I've previously stated: I love painting my nails! I also have a mild obsession with daisies, so I've been pinning daisy manicures like crazy on Pinterest. I decided I definitely needed yellow and white to pull of a classic daisy, and I was right!

Because of Easter (another reason to LOVE spring!) I got paid a day early and a new beauty store opened at Swindon outlet centre in the same week! Hello! Must've been kismet; there is no other way of explaining the extraordinary coincidence of my decision to buy new nail varnish and a huge new beauty store with an entire wall devoted to polishes opening!!

I took photos of this new store, called simply "Beauty Outlet", but I've accidentally deleted them. Ooops.

Anyway, I spent £9 and got two nail polishes, a mini manicure set (for my ridiculously mature for her four years old daughter) a nail art pen and a new blush brush. Score!!

Mini haul!

So I found a couple tutorials on Pinterest and gave daisy nails a go! I used W7 in white, Barry M Belly in Blueberry, and Astor Fashion Studio in Yellow Buttercup (fitting, don't you agree?) and this was the result!

I'm pleased for a first attempt! They're already chipped from a hard morning's work, so I'll go e it another go, possibly on top of pink this to.e, and let y'all know he it goes!

Which nail trends are you dying to try? Tag #springboard and let me see 'em!!


Monday, March 30


I've recently rediscovered TIGI's "Dumb Blonde" range and splurged on the shampoo. For those of you who haven't tried TIGI products, they are awesome! They're not cheap, mind, but a 400ml pump bottle like this will last me at least six months. So at £13/bottle that's only around £2 a month! I'd easily spend that on cheaper shampoo a month. I'm trying to get back to making purchases that have a bigger initial spend but save me dollahs in the long run. More on that later...I've tried a few of the TIGI ranges over the years (the oatmeal honey shampoo/conditioner set smells like cookies!) but I always faithfully return to Dumb Blonde.

 The packaging has gotten a makeover in recent years, but the stuff inside the bottle is as good as ever. After one wash with the shampoo my hair was waaaaay softer and smoother, and its purple! Being a bleach-a-holic, any purple tones in shampoos and conditioners help banish the brass and are always welcome!

I also use Pro:Voke "Touch of Silver twice a week brightening shampoo"- it's basically thick purple slime that you lather up with and leave to soak like little old ladies would have done with their white washing in bygone times. Either way it does the job and reduces the fiery-ness of my blonde.

Another little miracle worker I've stumbled across recently is "Dove hair therapy: Express Treatment conditioner". It was on offer so I gave it a spin and its lush! Having dry and brittle hair from said bleaching, I always leave conditioner in to soak for the duration of a shower. Even though my hair is fine I always need the extra moisture. This went on nice and thick and stayed on, not slipping down my neck ruining my clean time. I love it! New favourite for sure. Although at £4 for a measly 180 mls and the way I get through conditioner, it might have to be a little hair treat once in awhile instead of a regular jobby. Hey-ho, I'll take what I can get!!

What are your favourite hair treatments? Tag #hairtime and let me know!

Monday, March 23

City Fashion Profile: London

Being a Canuck abroad, I've  always found it interesting how different fashion can seem in one city to the next. In a world of global fashion trends and international retailers, how does one keep her style original? I've profiled women in different cities on this side of the pond and across it, each with an individual style. Let's see how different fashion really is around the world! To start us off we've got Amanda Lawrence from London. Amanda is a fellow Canadian in the UK and is based in London working for Net-a-porter.

LC: Hi Amanda! Tell us a little about yourself.

AL: Hiya, I'm Amanda, originally from Victoria, BC, which is on a pretty little island on the West Coast of Canada. I work for a major online luxury retailer in the Customer Care department and have done for 4 years.

LC: Which area of London are you in?

AL: I've been in the UK for just over 4 years, and have lived in Blackheath for about 3 1/2 of that. It's a great village in SE, about 25 minutes on the train to Charing Cross and 20 minutes walk to work which is ideal for me!

LC: What is your favorite thing about living in London?

AL: I love that I'm anonymous; I like being a little fish in a big pond! There is amazing food, accessible live music gigs and diversity.
lace top-Glamorous, boob tube- Topshop
trousers- Aritzia
cat ring-Nach Bijoux

LC: Where do you like to eat and/or get coffee?

AL: I would eat lobster everyday if I could afford it, so while it is a little splurge I love going to Burger & Lobster for their lobster roll! Yum! Coffee is tricky in London, it's not that great and I am not a Starbucks kind of person...I like the Algerian Coffee Store on Old Compton Street for a solid £1 double espresso...but for people watching Bar Italia on Firth Street, Soho, is fun...I've seen Paloma Faith, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter perched there.

LC: Ooh I get so starstruck when I see celebs! Do you freak out when you see celebrities, or do you keep your cool?

AL: The only person I lose my cool over is Miles Kane! Haha I saw him at a Father John Misty gig a few weeks ago...I internally lost my cool, text everyone I knew and stalked him for a few minutes until I decided it wasn't worth missing the gig for! But actually I usually just pretend I don't know they're a big deal, haha!
silk top-Aritzia
jeans-Urban Outfitters
cat ring- Nach Bijoux
 LC: Tell me about your favorite shop.

AL: Liberty, hands down. I could spend hours looking at the Annina Vogel Jewelley counter alone. It has such a great vibe and style to it.

LC: According too you, where's the best place to go out?

AL: Depends on what you're after. Tiny clubs playing Northern soul, hidden speakeasies, or pubs! I like Soho or some areas East.

LC: Who is your fashion Icon?(alive or dead!)

AL: There are people I admire for always being pulled together and looking impeccable but fun, Gwen Stefani is one of those people. I like the 60s and love to flip through old pictures of Brigitte Bardot, Marianne Faithfull, Peggy Moffat etc.

LC: Did you follow London Fashion Week?

AL: I did! I have to pay attention a little for my work, but it's not something I'm fanatical about. I've worked at LFWend for the last 3 seasons which is always fun to be involved in.
fur collar-vintage
shoes-Charlotte Olympia
LC: What do you get up to at London Fashion Weekend?

AL: I usually work at theoutnet.com stall either selling or educating customers on our brand. It's fun seeing all the bloggers dressed to the nines and being a part of the whole thing.

LC: What are the new season trends you're dying to try?

AL: I'm so happy 60s and 70s styles are so readily available! I've been working my legs and butt all winter so come spring short dresses will be mine!!!

LC: Where do have your hair done?

AL: I get my hair done at Pimps and Pinups in Spitalfields Market.

LC: Which magazines/websites/blogs do you follow regularly?

AL: Vogue, Porter and Love magazine are all go-to!
bag-Alexander Wang
LC: Tell me about your personal style and how it has evolved in recent years?

I like to look sexy and cute everytime I walk out the door...maybe not the two classiest adjectives...but it's the truth! It took me until my late 20s to realize being nearly 6 foot tall with long legs and curves in all the right places is actually a really good thing for me!

My personal style is quite personal, I don't follow or copy anyone consciously. It is rare I'm not in all black. I'm not sad or depressed I just feel the most comfortable in it. Is it ok to call myself a blonde bombshell with a whimsical twist?!
Blonde Bombshell

LC: Uhh, yeah!!

AL: When I was a teenager I wore whatever I wanted and was heavily influenced by grunge and punk...shaved head, purple hair, all my clothes from second hand stores. I think having that much freedom being young has left me with a bit of a "don't care what you think" attitude and confidence towards how I present myself now.

LC: I love that! It's so awesome that fashion has less rules now and it's more about bringing your own brand than it is about wearing them. Tell me about the top 3 pieces in your wardrobe.

AL: My 60s vintage leopard print coat, it's lush! I hemmed it about 5 inches, took off the ugly attached belt and changed the buttons...it's perfect.
dress and bag - Alexander Wang
coat - vintage
boots - Zara

Black skinny jeans from Urban Outfitters, they don't sell the ones I'm in love with in Europe! I get them sent over from the States 2 pairs at a time! They're high waisted, perfectly tight and long enough for me!

Chelsea boots!! They are my absolute fave! A classic leather pair of Chelsea boots work with nearly everything in my wardrobe...don't know what I'd do without them.

LC: What is your guilty pleasure- food or otherwise!

AL: Too many to list!! I am a big fan of mid-century Scandinavian design and recently spent way too much money on a teak cheese plate with hand blown glass dome lids to cover the cheese...it's beautiful.

Amanda's prized cheese plate!

Thanks to Amanda for participating in my little social experiment, and also just for being a unique and gorgeous lady!
Any questions or comments for our lovely Amanda about The Big Smoke or where to pick up mid-century Scandinavian cheese plates? Comment below or on StyleSurround' s FB page www.facebook.com/stylesurround.
Come back for my next profile, Patti Aberhart from one of my favourite cities ever, Bristol! Ta-ta for now! x

Monday, March 9

unexpected nightlife

When faced with a choice, Swindon might not be the place many are drawn to for a stylish night out. Understandable as by reputation, Swindon isn't on the list of most covetable place to live, or shop, or to go out. But, it really isn't half bad. In fact, it's actually rather good...

The one overwhelming piece of advice I received was to hit up Wood Street, and basically ignore the rest of town. We followed this advice and it seems everyone was on to something, or the one thing, that Wood Street is where you want to be if you're looking for a fun, trendy night out.

Looking out of the window of Baker Street bar you wouldn't know you were in grey, industrial Swindon; you could be anywhere. A pub-lined street in London, a trendy alley in Bristol. I didn't actually mind where I was at that moment as I had two very large and lovely (and two for one!) raspberry flavoured cocktails called "Eclipse" in front of me, tinting everything a lovely shade of rose.

We had a less satisfactory experience with the Long Island ice teas, and decided to move on to The Old Bank, which is spread across three floors. They house a restaurant on the ground floor, a bar/lounge on the first floor and a bar/dance floor at the top. We bypassed the restaurant completely and headed straight for the bar in the middle. We were greeted with lovely cocktails (I had a French Martini, divine) and a very respectable selection of beers and wines. There was also a very nice selection of people to be seen on this floor. I love a bit of people watching! We met these beauties:

as well as various other socialisers at The Old Bank. After another beer (him) and a cocktail (me) we headed upstairs to check out the disco. Again pleasantly surprised! I'm not sure what I was expecting but obviously it wasn't much as I was thrilled by each new discovery. I was dreading what the music would be like as I don't really listen to the radio anymore and haven't kept up with new music or bands for ages. I figured I just wouldn't know any of the songs played and I'd have to bob along, not really enjoying myself. Luck was kind to me though, and the DJ played just the sort of stuff I like to dance to when I'm a little sauced! He played Beyonce, Justin Timberlake... etc etc but it was right up my slightly tipsy alley. Yay! I finally got to have a little dance!

It must've been about midnight and we decided to hop next door to Mackenzie's; a long sprawling bar with lots of tables and still more pretty people. We may have gone to these bars in a reverse order as Old Bank was filling up while Mackenzie's seemed to be winding down. But we met some nice people and ended up having a lot of fun! By this hour the male population was definitely better represented in the style stakes, we found these guys propping  up the  bar:

And these ones holding down the smoking room:

All polite and lovely young men, we had very fun banter and convo until it was time to turn in.

I'm not sure if Swindon will ever be "up-and-coming", but if a few more outsiders saw this version that I saw, one might be able to overlook the grey squat buildings and the somewhat unsavoury peoples hanging around the town centre, and appreciate the coolness that is there!

All in all, a very worthwhile night out and one I am keen on repeating. All of the people in the bars and even the people manning the bars were all really fun and nice, and well, it really is worth remembering not to judge a book and all that as you may be very, very surprised with what you find on the inside.
Night! x