Tuesday, December 6, 2016

OOTD | Zaful - Trendy Fashion For Less

Joni Jeans - Topshop
Brogues - Dune

I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to outfit pictures, I usually end up having 100 + pictures taken each time so I know I have at least 9 perfect ones - but seriously, this winter weather is playing havoc with my outfit pictures this year, I never remember it being this cold last winter?

I've been trying to snap this beautiful embroidered shirt from Zaful for the last THREE weeks now, every time I've gone to take the pictures I've either been freezing or it's been raining, it's not exactly easy to take pictures when it's soooo cold outside. I like having my health too much! But alas, I did freeze to death taking these pictures on the weekend (definitely the quickest outfit shooting ever!), but I was rewarded with a nice hot chocolate afterwards, so who's the real winner hey?

Zaful are gonna be your new besties, especially if you have a penchant for everything Zara. They do almost identical dupes of all the latest lines, but for a huge fraction of the price, as a sucker for all things embroidered I nestled myself within their range of embroidered shirts, and was soo impressed with the prices, but also gutted I could have got a dupe of a Zara shirt I'd already bought for £10 cheaper! This Poplin shirt is the perfect work/casual look, the embroidered floral detail is so subtle, yet definitely makes a statement against the crisp white shirt.

Zaful have a huge range of clothing that are ideal for anyone who has a taste for high end style, but doesnt like the price tag that goes with it. Despite being a lot cheaper than the high street, the quality of their items is amazing, albeit the shirt is maybe a little too thin for the weather, I did freeze to death whilst taking outfit pictures owww! The delivery of the items was super quick too, and I was overall really impressed with the service. What more could a girl want? 

Catch Zaful over on Facebook & Pinterest for more style inspiration!

What do you think of this outfit? Have you heard of Zaful before? How do you cope with taking outfit pictures during the winter?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Surviving The Christmas Party Season When You're Teetotal

So, if you didn't already know, I'm teetotal. Yep. I suggest heading over to read my 'why it's okay to be a teetotal 23 year old' post before reading on to get the low down. I've been off the drink for over 3 years now which is both amazing, and scary. But the fact is, whatever your reason for not drinking, it never gets easier when you head into the party season. With upcoming work Christmas meals and family gatherings, I can imagine it's a similar feeling if you suffer from social anxiety, as you just can't escape it. I know it shouldn't, but these occasions are mainly celebrated by drinking alcohol which can lead you to feeling like 'the odd one out'.

A year on from writing my post, and I still feel like nothing has changed in society about the so called 'drinking culture', drinking until the cows come home and collpasing in the gutter is NOT Hygge, nor is it cool. The best thing I have found is removing yourself from the situation, but unfortunately it's not possible when the impending doom of the work Christmas party is approaching. Seeing as this will be my 4th teetotal Christmas (do I get a jacket for when I reach 5 years?) I thought I'd share some of my survival tips with you to help keep you sane over the Christmas period!

#1. Don't Overthink
Overthinking and worrying is the first thief of happiness. I usually have 5 questions on repeat in my head before going to any type of social event; 'will they ask why I'm not drinking?' 'Will they think I'm boring?', 'what if I'm not confident enough to sit with drunk people?' 'will they ask why I can't drink?' etc. I am so guilty of doing this and more times than not, only a couple of questions will actually come to fruition during the evening.

Overthinking beforehand will put you off going, and you should never let being teetotal stop you from doing something. Which leads me to....

#2. Do GO
Just say yes! It's like suffering from social anxiety, however hard it is, it makes it worse for yourself if you don't go and turn down an invite. I always ask myself, what is the worst thing that's going to happen? Probably nothing, so go, enjoy yourself, you deserve that glass of orange juice with your friends!

#3. Be Confident
Just by going to an event and not drinking in itself is a huge achievement. How many people could actually go to a Christmas work party sober? No, really? The reality is that people drink because it makes them feel more confident, and to relax. REALITY CHECK: They need it to feel less socially awkward, and to give themselves a boost of confidence.

Confidence comes from within, and the reason people say 'how can you do it?' or 'is it boring?', is actually because they would never be able to do it in a million years. If you have confidence, you can survive any social occasion without alcohol, and you can go home feeling confident that you're going to be hangover free the next day, woop!

#4. Answer Questions, BUT Don't Justify
We all know that one person that never takes no for an answer, and will ask you the same questions about your drinking habits at EACH social gathering, give it a break? No matter how many times you tell a person they just can't seem to accept it that not everyone drinks.

These people are boring, my best advice is to avoid them if you can, and remember to never justify. You don't have to tell anyone why you don't drink if you don't want to, its 2016 AND YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT! 

#5. Pick A Yummy Drink
Water is probably one of the only things that I actually drink during the week, so when I go out for a meal or a night out it makes it more of a treat to have something a bit less 'boring'. Mocktails are a good choice, and more places are starting to cater to the teetotal market so they'll always have a space on the drinks menu for some options, albeit small. 

Actually, people may not even know you're not drinking sometimes - I've played drinking games with water and been bought top ups of vodka lemonade when I was just drinking lemonade. People don't even know the difference when they've had one too many!

#6. Be Yourself
It's not your fault that you can't drink for whatever reason, and you should never let it feel like that. I've completely changed my life for the better since I stopped drinking 3 years ago, and I couldn't be happpier. I'm alive, happy and healthy, and I really couldn't ask for anything more.

Everyone will see you at your best all the time, as nothing is ever clouding your judgement or enhancing your personality. When you're acting yourself, you don't need to be anything else. And if people don't like that? They're not worth having in your life!

Whatever event you have coming up, I hope you all have an amazing time during the Christmas season, remember that your teetoal status doesn't define you! I don't personally know of many people that are 100% teetotal and I really wish I would have been able to confide in someone 3 years ago. So if you're in a similar position or need some advice, please do tweet me or get in touch via email on nicolelisasage@msn.com!

Are you teetotal? Do you have any other tips for surving the Christmas party season?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

OOTD | Frenchie Jumper

Frenchie Jumper* - Louche via Joy
Jeans - Topshop
Coat* - Boohoo
Shoes - Converse via Office
Bag - River Island

I'm back after a weeks break from blogging and I'm soo glad to be back! You probably couldn't have written the last week I've had, it's been so awful as everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong, those weeks that are so awful you just want to stay at home and watch Christmas films all day. But as the saying goes 'if you want a rainbow you have to deal with the rain', and I know that this week is going to be so much better! 

I don't like being down in the dumps on my blog but I like to keep you all in the loop, and there's nothing like my blogging/social media family that always cheer me up! Anyway....

GUYS, look at this jumper!! It's like a Christmas jumper but it's not, it's a little bit festive and I've fallen in love with the little Frenchie on it, I've decided it's probably the closest I'm ever going to get to owning one, but I'm OK with that. 

This jumper is from Joy who sell such an amazing range of different brands from your favourites like Mink Pink, Lavish Alish and Louche. I've never heard of the site, or Louche before and I love discovering new clothing retailers that do something a bit different to the high street. The quality of the jumper is amazing, and it's so warm despite being quite a thin knit. I'm not usually a red kinda gal, but it's such a statment look and it's too darn cute not to like it. If you like this Frenchie Jumper take a look at the full Joy Knitwear section for plenty more styles to choose from! I already know what my Boxing Day jumper is going to be....

What do you think of this outfit? Have you shopped on Joy before? 

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own.
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

How To Make A Hygge Emergency Kit

I lived in Finland for a year so that should basically make me a 'hygge' pro, right? There always was something special about coming back from walking on the frozen lake when it was -30 degrees and getting straight into my bed fully clothed, and slowly defrosting. Although I didn't realise that this 'feeling' existed until I snapped up The Little Book of Hygge a couple of months ago. Since then I've been fixated on this Danish way of living, and of course, mentioning it in any blog post where I can make it relevant. 

Whilst it doesn't directly translate into a word, it's something that everyone will have experienced and felt before. Got back from a day walking through the snow and letting your feet thaw out against the fire? Hygge. Listening to the rain outside whilst tucked up in bed? Hygge. Indulging in a pizza by candlelight? Hygge. You get the picture. Hygge is what makes us happiest, and after a miserable 2016 for the UK in particular, we could all do with a little bit of hope and Hygge in our live. The Danes are after all one of the happiest countries in the world, so they must be doing something right.

They do say that Hygge is just something that happens, and not necessarily something that can be forced. But I snapped up their idea of a Hygge emergency kit that can be stored away and called upon when you really need a little bit of hygge in your life. All you need is a suitcase, a box or a cupboard and a few special components to create a some hyggeligt times (cosy times). It's like a box filled of everything that makes me happy and I think everyone needs one in their life. 
Your Hygge Emergency kit is basically built up of everything that makes you happy, and to help fast track you to that elusive hygge feeling. I've created mine with 11 of my favourite essentials to help give you a little bit of inspiration to create your own.

#1. Blanket
Nothing speaks happiness and winter than cosying up on the sofa with a cosy blanket. It doesn't even have to be cold. Up the hygge levels by watching the rain fall whilst snuggled up in one.

#2. Candles
Everyone knows that candles are central to Hygge. It's all about soft, gentle lighting rather than harsh lighting. I mean, who even uses a proper ceiling lamp anymore? If candles aren't your thing, cosy fairy lights will do just the job. I always opt for the battery powered ones as it means I can use them anywhere!

#3. Favourite Book
I promise this post is not sponsored by Penguin books, I just love Hygge with all my heart and soul. There's nothing like a good, solid concept to follow. Because of this, The Little Book of Hygge is currently my favourite book that I will be popping in my emergency kit. It doesn't matter that I've already read it page to page at least 3 times already...

#4. Lush Goodies
If lush goodies aren't at the top of your list for your hygge emergency kit, I'm sorry, but you're not doing hygge right. You'll note that lush bathing products are also at the top of my ultimate pamper night list. 

Run yourself a warm bath, pop in a bath bomb and let the good times roll. I'll probably pop on a Lush face mask and smother my skin with Sleepy afterwards too. Now that is Hygge.
#5. Your Favourite Tea Cup & Saucer Complete With Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate
I'm not a massive tea drinker, but when I do drink tea I like it in the most flamboyant cup and saucer. It's like when you make tea in a tepot, you can't compare it to tea made in a cup. Alternatively, pop in your fav hot chocolate sachet and oodles of marshmallows too, mmm.

#6. Favourite DVD
There was no battle for the DVD that had to go in my emergency kit. Although, Harry Poter definitely gave Inbetweeners a run for its money. I have seen each episode of Inbetweeners at least 67508 times now, but I still laugh every time. I know every word to every scene and I'm not even sorry, nope.

#7. Chocolate
Ahh.. chocolate. There's few things that chocolate can't help, and indulging in it really is pure hygge. I should be putting a bag of mini eggs or galaxy chocolate in mine, but chocolate makes me really ill and that's really not hygge. So I'm sticking with my 80% chocolate from Tesco. I would sooner swap it for Hotel Chocolat though as that is a real treat.

#8. Cuddly Teddy Bear
I'm 24 years old and have a massive penchant for cuddly teddy bears, especially if they're called Boo or Doug. DON'T JUDGE ME. Not only are they 100% cute and don't answer you back, they're so comforting when you need a little cuddle. 

I wouldn't have survived my year abroad without Sully from Monsters Inc, do not underestimate the power of a cuddly toy!
#9. Letters
During my massive clear out on the weekend I came across loads of old cards, letters and a book that had messages from when I left year 11 at school. I had a smile at every comment that I read, and it brought back so many nice memories. It was the pick me up that I was in desperate need of. 

#10. Photographs
Do you remember the excitement of waiting for your holiday pictures to get developed? No me neither. Nowadays, everything is instantly uploaded to Facebook and never looked back at again. Everything is so online to the extent that if Facebook was gone tomorrow I would lose 1000s of memories, which isn't right. 

You just can't beat looking at old fashioned photographs, it's such a wonderful feeling and will bring those happy memories back to the surface in no time.

#11. Knitted Socks
There's nothing like slipping on a pair of knitted, woolen, super cosy socks after you've had a lovely bath or shower. I have a drawer full of (ugly) knitted socks that my mum made for me, and they beat the likes of Topshop novelty socks any day, soz.

Happy times are only round the corner with a Hygge emergency kit waiting to go. I think I'm going to need a bigger one for work...

What would be in your Hygge emergency kit?
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