Postcards

Last Saturday morning I was sitting on a train scrolling through Twitter, mainly as a distraction from the group of probably-somewhere-between-eighteen-and-twenty-year-old men, who were obviously still drunk and clearly hadn't yet been to bed. Apart from the one who had apparently been lucky enough to sleep on the sofa. I know. I heard it. The whole train heard it, they were loud enough. 

But anyway, I was scrolling through Twitter, making the most of the intermittent signal, when I came across a retweet that I haven't stopped thinking about since. It was a picture of a postcard and a caption that had me at "We are young enough to keep going." 

The tweet belonged to Postcard From the Past described, in 160 characters or less, as "Fragments of life in real messages on postcards from the past." 

I always know when I really really like something, because I'll want to tell everyone about it and share it everywhere. Which I have done. In fact, I might even break my usual Facebook radio silence and share this one to the 200 or so people I went to school with and haven't spoken to since. That's how much I like this.

It's brilliant. It's story-telling in such an intriguing yet simple way. It leaves room for the imagination, and appeals directly to the overly nostalgic side of me. It's also made me cry. On two occasions (and counting). 

Thinking about it now, I can't remember the last time I sent or received a postcard. I kind of miss it. Trawling through the racks of cards. Trying to pick out the best Greek cat or donkey to send back home. Contemplating the price of foreign stamps. Deciding that maybe you're better off just posting them once you're back home because there's only four days left of your holiday and it'll never make it in time anyway. 

But  – and here's the part where you need to forgive me for reading too much into this – you can't fit many words on a postcard. And you can't fit much on Twitter either. Maybe that's why they work so well together. You have to get the point, or alternatively leave it vague and kind of odd. Either way, it makes a great story. 

I'm probably really late to the party. A quick Google tells me that the internet had this covered back in 2016, but I've still not watched this year's Broadchurch and I'm so far behind on Made in Chelsea, so it's in-keeping with the theme really. 

Maybe I'm overly sentimental and maybe crying multiple times at an image of Mudeford Quay and the words "We waved to some tiny figures on the pier – hope it was you" is a little excessive. But it's also brilliant. 

Other favourites include: "I've fallen in love.""Typical Caroline.", "You couldn't get any further away from all the mess we're in." and "She's drunk and I'm having trouble handling her at present."

@PastPostcard

 

Wardrobe Updates

AKA – how to buy things without buying too much.

I used to be a terrible impulse shopper but, in recent years, I've found myself becoming a lot more considered with my shopping habits. In fact, I wouldn't say I even enjoy the actual shopping part as much as I used to.. And so, as it's probably about time to start thinking about what to wear for Spring/Summer, I decided to collate my thoughts on the matter. 

Below, I'm talking about assessing what you already own, finding inspiration, and my love for Polyvore.

'Shop' your wardrobe

I actually really hate the above term, but the point still stands. Before you begin to think about adding items to your wardrobe, sort through what you already have. I like to take everything out of my wardrobe and go through piece by piece, asking myself the following questions: 

  • Do I wear it often?
  • Does it still fit?
  • Am I saving it for an event that's actually going to happen?
  • Is it still my style?

If the answer to those questions is a resounding 'no', then it's probably time to get rid. I like to make an Ebay/Depop pile and a charity pile. If the Ebay/Depop pile stays untouched for two weeks, I'll add those things to the charity pile, because if I haven't listed it by now, will I ever? Answer: no. 

If you have pieces that are seasonal – the ones that have no business being around for Spring/Summer, but you know you'll wear again come Autumn – then pack these away.

I'm a fan of the vacuum pack storage bags for this, especially when it comes to jumpers and coats. But please, please, please, remember where you've stored them. I recently discovered that the summer dresses I 'packed away' last year have gone missing. I fear they accidentally ended up in a charity pile, and are now being worn by someone who must've been thrilled to get a beautiful Topshop midi dress for next to nothing in their local charity shop. 


Inspiration

Whilst it's super easy to spend an hour or so online, filling your basket with new items, sometimes you need to take inspiration from places other than the ASOS new-in section. Below are just a few of the places I like to turn to when I'm having a 'I have nothing to wear!!!' day. Which is far too often given the amount I really do have to wear. 

  • Pinterest – My Style and Detail boards are the ones I pin to the most. Whenever I'm feeling a little unsure of how I'd wear something, or want to see how other's might style a certain item, I turn to Pinterest for help.
  • Instagram – This tends to be my biggest enabler. If someone else is wearing a nice top, I'll want that nice top. And I'm filled with joy when I realise someone has bothered to tag where all their items are from too! 
  • #OOTD – As well looking at what other's are wearing, I try to keep a record of the outfits I'm wearing. Sometimes I'll upload these to my Instagram stories, but I also keep them in a folder on my laptop. This way I can go back and remind myself how I styled items in the past.
  • Real life people – You know, the ones that aren't behind a screen. Colleagues, the girl standing infront of you in the queue, someone sat opposite you on the train. If I see someone wearing something I like, if I'm not feeling too self-conscious, then I'll try and pay the wearer a compliment and find out where it's from. In an 'online world', it can seem slightly unnatural to actually talk to a real life person. But if someone compliments my dress, I'll go out of my way to show them where to buy it, and even try and dig out a discount code or two! Plus I'll remember the compliment all day.

Consider your purchases 

Once you've worked out what you already own, it's time to start thinking about what pieces you can add. I used to be guilty of browsing online and adding everything and anything into my basket. However, I like to think I've reigned it in more recently. 

If I see something I like, instead of adding it to my basket straight away, I try to see if it meets the following criteria:

  • Is it my style? – If no, but it's still an amazing piece, maybe recommend it to a friend who you know would love it. 
  • Will I get enough wear out if it? – If you've got a special event/occasion coming up, maybe this is ok, but I like to try and buy pieces that I can wear on multiple occasions. I've bought so many pretty dresses in the past that haven't made it past the 'twirling round in front of the mirror at home' stage. 
  • Can I wear it to work? I realised recently that, as I spend five out of seven days a week at work and don't have a 'work wardrobe', I should be comfortable wearing at least the majority of my clothes into the office. This may not apply to everyone, but substitute this question for a similar one. 
  • Do I already own (a version of) this? – For me, this applied to Breton tops and light wash jeans. Yes it might be just my style, but I don't need three pairs of light blue, straight leg, high waist jeans. One good quality, comfortable, well fitting pair is enough. 
  • Can I already picture what I'll wear it with? Polyvore is a godsend for this, but I'll come onto that in due course.
  • Can I stop thinking about it? – No? Buy it. Take it home. Try it on. And then ask yourself the above questions again. Sometimes the reality of something doesn't always live up to expectations – we've all seen (500 )Days of Summer – but it's good to get it out of your system and realise it wasn't meant to be. And if it does live up to the hype, then even better!

The longest I've spent deliberating over something is probably this Mango dress (pictured above). I spotted it online back in February, but almost £50 seemed a lot for something I wasn't 100% about. Yet I kept going back to look at it, so I pinned it to Polyvore and put together some outfits, and realised I needed it in my life. I was a little concerned that it wouldn't fit, but I added it to my basket, checked-out and haven't looked back since. I also haven't worn it since, but that's a weather issue.


Polyvore

I've written about Polyvore briefly before – this is definitely not hashtag ad, I just really love it. To me, it's the online equivalent of taking something home and trying it on. For those unfamiliar with it, it's essentially a place to save items you like, browse other items, and put together outfits and collections. 

Whenever I'm considering a purchase, I make sure to 'pin' it to my items on Polyvore. I also save items I already own, so that I can put together outfits comprising of potential purchases and things that are already part of my day-today wardrobe. I find it so helpful in working out, realistically, how much wear I'm going to get out of something. 

Sometimes I'll use it to 'get things out of my system'. Again, the equivalent of ordering that thing from ASOS that you're never going to wear, but just want to try it on and send it back. I have no reason to wear the pink fluffy coat/cold shoulder dress combo below, and I definitely can't walk in backless mules, but it's nice to look at, right?

Of course, I don't go through this process for absolutely everything I buy, but I find the the above definitely makes me think a little more before buying. I'd much rather my wardrobe be full of things I love and look forward to wearing, you know?

Purple Freckles

Parents lie to you. Whether it's to make their life a little easier, of your life a little easier, or maybe to make both of your lives that little bit more magical. They lie.

One of the lies my mum used to tell me, was about what happened when I lied. And I like to think I didn't lie much as a child, but maybe this is why.

You see, if I ever told a lie my freckles would turn an unsightly shade of purple. And of course, I could never see this change in a mirror. Obviously it was only visible to the people I was lying to. 

Following this revelation, six-year-old me has to really think things through. I'd stand at the back door, having just told the whitest of lies. She hasn't said anything, I'd think. Maybe I'd got away with it? But no, surely she can see they've changed? She's just testing me.

I wait.

But I can't take it. I need to know.

"Have my freckles turned purple?" I blurt out.

And she smiles, because it's a foolproof way of knowing. Foolproof at least when you have a six-year-old who believes everything. Because why wouldn't it be true if your mother has said so?

Memory

memory

noun

  1. the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information

  2. something remembered from the past.

For the most part, I like to think I have a pretty good memory. Long-term, it's fantastic. I can remember details of events from years ago, what I was wearing when a certain thing happened, and who said what in conversations that no one else seems to remember. I'm also good at remembering the little – some may say insignificant – things. A co-workers favourite colour, or what they had for dinner three nights ago. And yes, sometimes (maybe too often) I'll open a new tab in my browser, or get up from my desk and have absolutely no idea what I was about to do. But like I said, for the most part, my memory is pretty good. And I love this.

I've been told before – with eye-rolls and the implication that I'm being silly – that we choose how we remember things. But of course we choose how we remember things. 

When I remember my childhood, it's in a late spring/early summer haze. It comes in flashes. A montage of green and picnics and stomping on the berries in the pathway by the park. It's triangle sandwiches and Sylvanian villages in the garden and midnight feasts at 9pm because three eight-year-olds can't stay awake until midnight. 

My teenage years are less flashes and more lingering. It's Saturday afternoon cupcakes and Skins and The Wombats' A Guide to Love Loss and Desperation on repeat. It's cold Februarys and then, later, warm summer evenings and sand in my shoes that I can never get rid of. 

And now, things that were once a 'last year I did this' or 'this time two years ago...' are fast becoming memories too. Albeit more solid ones. Ones that smell of coffee and a certain scented hand wash that I can't use anymore. Mid-week days off and constant train journeys and Taylor swift on repeat whilst driving through the forest. 

It might sound terribly nostalgic, all of this, but there's something so wonderful about trawling the corners of your mind and reliving things from the past. The thing is, because I'm so fascinated by it all, it means I'm also very scared of forgetting. 

And so I write things down. I record the flashes. And if they change over time and I choose to remember them differently, then so be it.