Nola Boutique Try On's


Follow Nola here @nolamanchester and @nolabrighton or have a look at their website here!

*disclaimer* this was just something fun Niamh had the idea of doing but all the words and thoughts are my own and it was just exciting playing dress up for a bit!

Firstly I tried on this incredible dress by Iden Denim which is made of 60% silk 40% Tencel which is incredibly soft, flowy and completely gorgeous! I honestly feel like a 40's Manor house owner who lounges around in luxury gowns all day! Paired with my Jadon boots (I was attempting to break them in) it gives it that juxtaposition the outfit needs to feel less formal and more everyday ladies who lunch.

Promise I'm not falling asleep in the photo above!!! I just want to say again how lovely it was to see the new boutique and try on lots of incredible clothes! Manchesters Northern Quater definitely needed this and I'm so excited to see how Nola grows over the next few months!

C x

Post Graduate life story


It's the day after my graduation so I have decided to sit down and share my thoughts, feelings, memories and all in between from that day and the past 4 years of university life, which have all lead to me graduating with a first class honours degree! I mean this post could be a long rambly one, or I may cut it short and just get straight to the point but like I always say, this is my little space on the internet and if I can't share my proudest achievements to look back on, then where can I share it?!
*announcement: if you're not bothered about reading a life story or being completely nosey, then this post probably isn't for you. Or you could just skip to the end for the life lessons I learnt at uni*

So 2012 I left school (ew 6 years ago) and moved from a town outside of Birmingham to Hereforshire so major contrast of city life to living in a old village post office in the countryside! I spent 2 years at Herefordshire Art College where I met my best friend and the most incredible tutors who still support and inspire me to this day. This is where I really experimented with textiles, fabric manipulation and my love for knitting and weaving really came into play which is now something I want to continue doing through personal projects or evening classes. Textiles, drawing and fashion have always been a major creative outlet for me, so there was never a real question as to whether I wanted to go to uni or even what I should study.

From here I went to University of South Wales (USW) in 2014 (so no gap year, straight in uni) where I spent my first year in Cardiff studying Fashion Design. It was mainly Womenswear based but I snuck in a few unisex projects in there as I loved the idea of studying Menswear. As the months went on, I still didn't feel settled onto my course, the tutors weren't right for me, I didn't feel like I was really being push and honestly I missed the freedom that I was so used to through being at art college. This is where I made the decision to transfer my degree and move to Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

Luckily my first year at USW had very similar modules to the ones taught at MMU so I was able to join straight into second year. So another year of making new friends, settling into a new city, university life and student halls (I really do love to challenge myself at the best of times)! Anyway this course was everything I could ask for and more, I was being pushed, the tutors were incredible and I made some of the loveliest friends. I took menswear as my specialism, learning tailoring, working on live briefs with Old Navy (where I was shortlisted) and really trying out styles as a new menswear designer was so exciting. My work was even used to produce the tickets for the end of year show! Looking back, I defintiely made the right choice in transferring courses and whilst second year was no means easy, it was what I wanted, I learnt so much education wise but also to listen to myself and what's right for me. 

During my second year, there was a module which taught us and directed us in how we present ourselves to potential employers in aims to aid us for future placements or job roles. After what felt like hundreds of knockbacks, I finally gained an incredible placement at Margaret Howell. This led to me spendning my third year of university life in London! Again another 12 months of getting used to a new city, work environment, attempting to make friends and trying new things, I mean you wouldn't believe me if I said I don't really like change?

So over 2016/17 I worked and lived in London as a Design Assistant which was very very hard work but was also quite exciting! This year I really learnt about my mind and mental health, what may cause my anxieties and ways I can deal with them. For the majority of the year, I didn't have much of a social life which wasn't the best but living on my own and looking after myself as a real life adult, did teach me a thing or too which has helped as life as progressed (not to sound like some weird old self confessed prophet). 

Finally I entered my fourth and final year of university!!!!!!! I was incredibly hesistant and nervous for my last year; over 12 months away without any project work to keep things moving, I felt out of the loop, as though I'd lost that creativeness and drive. The first project we were given was tough, I didn't fall in love with it and it was a challenge to keep at it but I'm glad I percivered through it all. As the months went on and more competitions and live briefs came, I was lucky that my tutors saw my hard work and developed style meaning I was shortlisted a few times. 

As final collection came around, I had an idea of what I wanted to produce, but explored different avenues and ideas before making sure this idea what I wanted to spend the next 3/4 months working on. In the end it paid off completey, with a fashion presentation at Manchester showcasing everyones work, which then lead onto me being selected to show my collection at Graduate Fashion Week (I spoke about here). Honestly one of the best feelings having been selected to share my work in London, where I got to speak to some amazing companies and even had Patrick Grant look through my portfolio!! A few weeks later, I bagged myself a job as a Menswear Design Assistant at John Lewis which i'm so excited to start, so life back in London is too far away anymore. Then I also found out I was graduating with a first!!!!

Over the space of a few weeks, I had an overwhelming amount of good news coming my way, and it was so weird to think about how far I had come to make it this far! I am so proud of myself and everything that I have achieved since day one; many mistakes, hangovers, late nights and hard work have got me to this point and all I can say is "GO ME!!!'.

If you've made it this far then thank you and as a reward here are the life lesson I gained from the past 4 years of university life:

1. Listen to gut instinct
As I mentioned, I did my first year in Cardiff then transferred to Manchester because I just wasn't happy with the course. I knew I wanted to study fashion, but if I going to be getting into £50k+ debt at the end of it, I at least want it to feel worthwhile and like I'm going to learn. It may scare your parents, or your friends may worry that you're about to go on some crazy meltdown but you have to listen to yourself because you know yourself better than anyone else. I have incredibly supportive parents, and I know that if and when mistakes are made and things don't quit go to plan, they're always there for me.

2. Your work changes and that's okay
I still have selected pieces of work and sketchbooks back from college, and all through unviersty and honestly it's crazy to see how much it changes after 12 months of developing, being surrounded by new peoples, places and being inspired by the ever growing creative network. Sometimes I do sit and look back and pull pieces I still love to this day and wonder how I can develop it further. It should be exciting and I need to remeber to enjoy trying new things and slowly!! Rather than beating myself up and trying to get the finish product so quickly!

3. Sometimes you need to push yourself
This sort of links to point 1, but sometimes you do just need to take yourself out of your comfort zone and push yourself to do things that you really don't feel up to. Moving to London was a really scary aspect for me, not knowing anyone and starting something completely different, but it has helped me in so many personal ways. I feel more equiped as an adult, living in a big city and starting big design based jobs. It's hard but it can be so worth it!

4. Hard work pays off but take time out
Now this is by no means saying that getting top grades are the be all, end all but I just want to say that hard work does go recognised. After such a hard time mentally in London, I vowed that during my final year, I wanted to remember to take time for myself, relax at evenings but also make sure I got the work done. I'm a major busy body, I have to be doing things constantly, but taking that time out meant I wasn't constantly on edge or about the keel over with tiredness. So this is a note to hard work, but listen to that body of yours if it needs a time out!

5. Consider your options!
Don't jump into decisions if they don't feel right, give yourself time to think about things and whether it works for you. Think about the different courses, universities, taking a year out, or even going onto a foundation, or uni might not be your thing, nothing is right or wrong! Take your time, university isn't going anywhere.

I mean all in all they link so closey, just try new things, push yourself but also remember to take your time and listen to gut instinct. You got this.

C x

Creating content and feeling content


I do this every time but how do you even start a blog post without sounding weird? Anyway, post graduate life is continuing on and so is the weirdness that follows, as I mentioned in my previous post the other day, im still trying to fully find the words that form the sentences I'm trying to make. This post is kind of on the wavelength of things I'm talking about, which is creating content, listening to myself in who I am, the style I have and what I want. I mean it shouldn't be that deep but as some who is creative with anxious tendancies it's easy to dwell and let thoughts consume when they shouldn't really be taking up that much space. But if I can't think / type freely here, and to potentially help anyone else out there, or even myself then what's the point in posting my personal ramblings!

Blogging is always a topic I talk about when I funnily enough, write a blog post so it's no news when it returns as a thought. Now that I'm finished with uni, I've been putting pressure on myself to continue creating, taking photos, going places, drawing, designing, connecting with others and so much more, and to be honest it gets too much sometimes. But with putting all this pressure on myself I end up doing nothing and playing Harry Potter lego instead (reliving my childhood ok). I mean I have just spent the past 4 years studying a degree, and all my life before that has been education so maybe a bit of time off before starting my graduate job is deserved.

I had the conversation with my boyfriend on how I want my blog (and Instagram) to go, which I'm surprised he's not sick of because I do bring it up a lot. Using Instagram has become so much harder to use because of the dreaded, god awful algorithm and whilst it shouldn't get me down, it does. I also know I'm not the first person to say this either. These thoughts are now a few weeks old, which is why I've come to some kind of conclusion and resolved things a little but they're still underlying somewhere in my lil brain.

It's time I start listening to myself, and what I want to create for myself. Instead of being so influenced by what others are doing and trying to become someone I'm not; which is fine if you're still learning and deciding because believe me, I've been trying to find my style for years but I think I'm finally getting there. So this is the perfect outfit to accompany these thoughts! 

Vintage, easy, natural colours, tactile and more aware of my fashion consumption and where it comes from. All these years of trying styles will no doubt continue in some areas, with buying the odd thing I just 'have to try out' but this outfit feels me and I'm happy about it. Whilst sharing photos on Instagram doesn't get me the reach I sometimes hope for, I'm trying to just share content that makes me happy and feels more me. Which is all that we can ever do really?

C x

Jacket : Charity Shop
Tshirt : H&M
Skirt : Charity Shop
Converse : Offspring

Interviews, thoughts and visit to the Tate Britain


Hello me again! 

I think I'm gonna keep this one short and sweet(ish) because I have lots of thoughts brewing in my head but I'm not quite sure how to articulate them just yet. So for the moment I'm gonna share some lovely lovely photos (if I say so myself) that I took whilst I had a few hours to spare in London (after an interview...). I did say I was going to try treat this space like an online journal, an extension of my Instagram (well as best as I can at the moment, considering how crap it is). Anyway...

Even though I spent 12 months living in London whilst on placement, I don't think I really explored as much as I could have. This is something I want to improve should I move back (because of said interview, but more on that another day) and really make the most of living in a new city. So whilst I had a few hours 'to waste' I thought I'd visit Tate Britain, just a short walk from Victoria station through some incredibly lovely residential areas (photos from this may come in a part 2 to this post as I have to wait for some film to be developed). 

It was an incredibly beautiful building and exhibition space, with an amazing layout featuring pieces of art that go from room to room in chronological order depending on the time period, which apeases organised people like me. I was kind of pressed for time (I like to be at the station really early ok) I thoroughly enjoyed being in the space and would definitely go again to really take it all in and make sure I didn't miss anything, because I'm pretty certain I did this time round.
If you're in the area I'd definitely recommend checking it out, in the meantime I hope you enjoy the few photos I did take!

C x

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