Sunday, 14 September 2014

Autumn 30 for 30: 30 Pieces

As you might already know by now, I tend to not do things by halves. See, ran a half marathon 9 months after starting running. When I mentioned doing another remix challenge earlier in the week, the idea of a full 30 for 30 (30 items, 30 days, 30 outfits) never even crossed my mind. But the more I started to plan for a 15 for 15, the more I realised that it's actually harder to do than a 30 for 30. 15 items is not many, and I was finding myself choosing really neutral, boring pieces, and finding myself limited. I toyed with the idea of a 20 for 20, but then decided- go big or go home. I decided to do a second 30 for 30.
My last full 30 for 30 was over 3 years ago and my style has changed so much since then (a lot of things have changed since then, in fact!), plus it was done during the summer and over a period where I worked part time in a supermarket with a uniform, meaning it took me much longer than the prescribed 30 days. I don't feel like I'm just repeating something I've done before. This time around feels different, more exciting, more inspiring.
I reread this week the blog post I wrote just after finishing the challenge and read my reflections on the challenge and my choices. I've tried not to over-think my choices (if there's one thing I'm really good at it's overthinking) and took my own advice from last time. Last time I choose a lot of pieces in similar colours and prints which led to a lot of similarity across outfits. I didn't want that to happen this time. While I've obviously planned a lot of outfits (about 47 in total!) I haven't tried any on to see if they work and many of my items don't go together. I don't want to be as matchy-matchy as last time.
I've also been careful to choose items and styles that I actually wear. Three years ago I was very much into dresses and skirts, whereas this time I've focused much more on trousers and jeans. I've included mostly jumpers and button ups and only a few jackets. I doubt I'll wear every item I've chosen.
In terms of rules, this is my plan:

1) 30 items, 30 days, 30 outfits. No repeats.
I am certain I will wear at least a couple of outfits throughout this challenge which I have posted before on my blog, but I will not repeat any outfits throughout the challenge. 
2) Accessories and coats don't count
I'll probably wear most outfits with my beige trench coat, and bust out one of my winter coats if it starts getting chilly.
3) No shopping for 30 days
I always struggle with this one but this time I want to make it count
4) Each outfit will be photographed, but I won't be posting every day
I will do a summary of outfits every few days
5) Evening wear won't count
I don't tend to get changed in the evenings during the week but probably will at the weekends if I have plans

So, onto the items...


maroon trousers- River Island (worn here)
houndstooth trousers- Topshop (worn here)
tartan trousers- Topshop (worn here)
blue jeans- Topshop (worn here)
yellow skirt- River Island
leather skirt- Oasis (worn here)
navy pencil skirt- Marks and Spencers
stripey skirt- Boohoo
pink skirt- Boohoo (worn here)
Stripey jumper- c/o Hush (worn here)
Black jumper- Forever 21
Cream jumper- Forever 21
stripey top- Primark (worn here)
Hard Rock Cafe tshirt- c/o Hard Rock Cafe Manchester
red shirt- New Look (worn here)
tartan shirt- Forever 21
sleeveless white shirt- Boohoo
chambray shirt- Forever 21

leopard cardigan- H&M
red cardigan- Debenhams (worn here)
leather jacket- Boohoo (worn here)
pink tweed jacket- River Island (worn here)
brown tweed blazer- Primark (worn here)
blue dress- Topshop (worn here)
black dress- Clothing at Tesco (worn here)
brown boots- New Look (worn here)
nude flats- Dorothy Perkins (worn here)
black boots- c/o Debenhams (worn here)
black and white flats- Warehouse (worn here)
red flats- bought in Las Vegas

So, in case you lost count, that breaks down to-
11 tops (3 jumpers, 2 cardigans, 4 shirts, 2 tshirts)
9 bottoms (4 pairs of trousers, 5 skirts)
3 jackets
2 dresses
5 pairs of shoes.

Tune in over the next month to see how I get on with my challenge, and make sure you pop over to Sian's blog too because she is joining me with a 15 for 15!

Charlotte x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Debenhams Share to Wear


I swear I'm not surgically attached to this jumper. Not yet, at least. We're actually here today to talk about these boots. I am a bit of a nightmare with shoes. As we've established already, I have about 100 pairs but, as you'll know if you read my blog regularly, I tend to only wear about 10 pairs. Which means I'm constantly wearing out pairs of shoes. My favourite black ankle boots died a death about a year ago, and in the interim I've had a couple of pairs of black boots that have worked but they haven't been the ones.
So when Debenhams got in touch a few weeks ago about their Share to Wear campaign I jumped at the chance to get involved. How Share to Wear works is that you buy a gift voucher for £15, and then straight away that is increased to £20. Then as you share with your friends, you can have the chance to increase it to £30. So for spending £15, you now have £30 to spend! I used my gift voucher to buy these boots. I feel they're going to be my new A/W faves, especially as they give me loads of support to my foot. Probably not your priority when buying boots but to those of us with foot injuries, it's a great perk!
jumper- c/o Hush
skirt- Oasis
boots- c/o Debenhams
necklace-Accessorize
As you can see, I caved and bought this skirt I was telling you about, but never fear, I'm including it as part of my next remix challenge that I mentioned yesterday. Thank you for all of you lovely comments. I am definitely going ahead with the challenge and I think Sian will be joining me. I'm ready to rediscover my wardrobe again. 
In other news, I mentioned at the weekend that not being able to exercise with my foot sprain has been driving me insane, so on Sunday I decided to try some pilates thanks to the wonderful Cassie of Blogilates. I'm working through her Beginners calendar and love that it's only about 30 minutes a day. I've been skipping anything cardio-based because of my foot and adding in another video to make up the time- today I did Day 4 and swapping the cardio for the Applause Arms video. I really miss running and cardio, but it's good to actually be doing something, and it's short enough to squeeze in before work. 
Finally, today is my blog's biggest fan's birthday- Happy Birthday Daddy Crowley! He is the best Dad in the world- taxi service, blog reader, spider remover and all round awesome guy. I like him a lot.

Hope you're having a great week.

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

On Another Remix Challenge and Your Opinion

Remember about four years ago when remixing was all the rage in fashion blogging?
It was all about one-skirt-three-ways or one-dress-day-to-night or my favourite, the 30 for 30 challenge.
Back then, before fashion bloggers became the puppets of brands, old clothes worn in a new way were the new new clothes. It wasn't about excess, it was about creativity.
Now the bloggers who championed remixes are now all about new things. Everything is gifted from brands. Nobody has to worry about wearing clothes in new ways because there is always a stream of new clothes coming in. 
While I am occasionally guilty of this, I do try my best to wear my clothes in new ways as frequently as possible (you should see how many ways I've worn my houndstooth trousers!) but I usually find myself stuck in a rut at the start of a new season.
See I obviously have a ridiculous amount of autumn winter wear. Piles of jumpers, drawers full of tights, dozens of pairs of boots. But when the new season comes sweeping in, it's difficult not to get sucked in to the idea of needing more.
So I'm contemplating another remix challenge. The question is, is it still relevant?
I currently work in an office with no dress code, which is mostly a blessing. But it's also a lot of freedom, which, when you're as anal as me, gets overwhelming. At my previous jobs I had constructed a kind of "uniform" which made getting dressed for work fairly straightforward. But now I have so much choice, I struggle.
My plan is to do a 15 day remix, of 15 items. Being able to post an entire blog post every day is unrealistic, as is taking proper, DSLR photos every day, so I was considering a few iPhone snaps each day and then a round up every few days. 
I'll include shoes but I won't include jackets or coats, as its likely I'll just wear my trench coat with each outfit.
I have a list planned out of my potential items, and it's likely to be fairly simple and focus on basics, but I want something to get me out of my inspiration rut and to help me to avoid buying loads of stuff for the new season.
So the question is, are these kinds of remixes still relevant? Are they something you would want to see here?
Drop me a line in the comments or on twitter (@gnd_fashion)

PS. You can see my 30 for 30 challenge here, and my 15 for 15 workwear challenge here

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Joni Jeans- Two Ways

On Thursday I realised, much to my dismay, that my absolute favourite Leigh jeans had a tiny hole in the inner thigh. I knew it was coming- I've had them for almost three years now and wear them at least once a week, and plus their twin pair in black had ripped a few months earlier. I knew it was time, but I wasn't ready to let go. As a girl who hates wearing jeans (let alone buying them!), Topshop Leigh jeans were a revolution. Stretchy, comfy and without the "fits-my-hips-but-not-my-waist problem", that I know many pear-shaped girls like me understand. These jeans turned me from someone who never wore jeans to someone who wore them all then time. Initially my first response was simple to rebuy them. However it turned out Topshop had stopped doing the Indigo colour a few months ago, so I wouldn't be able to get the exact same pair. Which led me to start looking at other options. I considered New Look jeans on Natalie's recommendation, but a few people told me the quality and stretchiness wasn't as good, so I decided not to fix what wasn't broken and to head back to Topshop. Then the conversation turned away from Leigh and onto Joni. Now I have always had a love-hate relationship with high-waisted jeans. I've also found if they fit right on the hips, they are too big on the waist, or worse, fit fine for a few weeks and then after a wash go too big. So I popped to Topshop after work, picked up a pair of Leigh jeans (in a darker blue wash) and also a pair of Joni jeans. As soon as I tried them on, I loved them. However, I started chatting to Sarah and Sian about them, and Sian told me her Joni jeans stretched out and she had to size down. I'd bought my Joni jeans in my usual size and they fitted perfectly, but I panicked then and decided I should try on a smaller size. I hit Facebook and Twitter for advice. I was already going to Outfit the next day, so I begrudgingly took off my lovely new jeans that I was planning to wear and headed to outfit to try on a smaller size. As it happened, they didn't have the intense blue colour that I loved in the Joni jeans in the smaller size, so I stuck to my guns. Some people have told me they stretch out, some have told me they haven't, so fingers crossed they won't.
jeans- Topshop
jumper- c/o Hush
necklace- Accessorize
flats- Miss KG
Anyway! One of the reasons I decided to lean towards Joni was to have the option to wear them both high waisted and regular waisted, so I thought I would show you two outfits- one with them worn normally and one with them high waisted. I actually wore the first outfit on Saturday and the second one today. This jumper was sent to me by Hush and it is my new favourite jumper. It is so snuggly and warm, and has that perfect slouchy fit that I didn't think I could pull off. I have a feeling it's going to be worn a LOT this winter! The second outfit is another super casual one- just my favourite Brand New tshirt and ballet flats. A typical Sunday outfit for me! I also added my leopard cardi later but I didn't realise I would need it when I snapped these photos.
I'm trying not to buy too much for Autumn Winter (apart from these jeans, obviously). I have so many jumpers and cardigans I can hardly close my knitwear drawer (yes, I have a knitwear drawer. Is that weird?) and I have lots of dresses I can layer over, plus I think I definitely have ten coats (or more!) now. With Phil and I moving in together after Christmas I know I won't be able to take all my clothes with me so buying loads of new things seems redundant. So what's on my A/W list? A new pair of black ankle boots, a cream cable knit jumper (I've been looking for the perfect one for years), a grey sweatshirt and this leather skirt from Oasis. I'm going to pop into Manchester on my lunch to buy it next week as they didn't have it in Outfit yesterday. I was hoping I could exchange it for the other jeans and then it wouldn't feel like I was spending anything. Does anyone else feel like that?
tshirt- Brand New website
flats- Dorothy Perkins
necklace- c/o Adorning Ava
Wow I feel like I have a lot to say today- sorry! I planned to get a post out on Tuesday and took the photos before work, but on my walk to work on Tuesday (it is literally about five minutes) my foot was hurting so badly that I decided I needed to go to A&E, so that was where I spent Tuesday evening. I had an X ray and the doctor doesn't believe it is a fracture but that it is just a sprain or a strain. I'm not entirely convinced because I read that sometimes stress fractures are too small to be seen on an X Ray, but he told me it should recover in three to six weeks. However it's been two weeks since it first started hurting now and I think it feels like it's getting worse rather than better. I'm giving it as much rest as I can (I'm not much of a rester) and trying to keep it elevated (when I remember) but I'm getting very frustrated. I keep cursing runners in my head when I see them run past. I want to be able to run again!
I've had a really quiet weekend, which has left me feeling a bit bored and tired. I felt like I had a really long week this week so I was ready for a quiet one but now I'm kind of fed up! Last night my parents went out so Phil and I had the house to ourselves and he's got me watching Friday Night Lights because he loves it (I like it so far!). It's nice to have a boxset to watch at the moment while we're both living at our parents' cause it means we don't have to go out for dates all the time. Today I've done my usual Sunday shop and Sunday cooking. I've made lentil and coconut milk soup and a big pan of red cabbage so far, and I'm going to make a veggie shepherd's pie with sweet potato mash this afternoon.

Hope your weekend has been lovely!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Easy

For over a year, Sundays at home have always begun with a workout. Traditionally, Sundays were my long run day while I was training for my half marathon. I would get up, run 7, 8, 9 miles, have breakfast, do the food shopping and get on with my day. Even if I stayed at Phil's, which I did most Saturday nights, I would still rush home for my workout. Waking up this morning knowing I couldn't workout was horrible. My foot is in a lot of pain. I have a doctors appointment on Thursday which while it may not result in a diagnosis, will hopefully get me a referral. I'm pretty certain it is a stress fracture now, which will put me out from running for at least 6 weeks. I'm undoubtedly going to have to withdraw from my 10K next month. It's going to be a struggle- I feel like I'm missing a limb- but I know if I try to push it too soon I could end up with an even worse injury. Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post- they made me feel a lot better! I'm planning to go swimming this week and see how it goes, and if it doesn't hurt I'm planning to go a couple of times a week and maybe see how I get on with some strength training. I've also heard great things about pilates for injuries. Do any of you guys have any recommendations? I've experienced a lot of acceptance over the last few days, difficult as it has been. Life happens, injuries happen. I'd rather this happen now than have happened right before a half marathon. And I'm sure I'll get into a routine of swimming, strength and anything else I try. I just need to try not to do too much too soon!
dress- River Island
jumper- H&M
boots- New Look
This outfit is pretty similar to most of my outfits at the moment. Dress, jumper, tights, boots. I've been rediscovering some of my old outfits (my favourites are circa October 2012) with jumpers layered over dresses, and I recently had these boots reheeled and resoled to get another winter or two out of them. To be honest I'm feeling pretty uninspired at the moment. I feel like a lot of my clothes are too young for me now. I no longer want to wear little lacey dresses or cutesy skater skirts any more, but I'm struggling for inspiration. I'm finding a lot of twenty-something bloggers too immature, too kitschy, too twee. Blogs I used to love now look the same as they did five years ago, and older, more mature bloggers have a much larger disposable income than I. I need new inspiration but I don't know where to find it. I'm tired of the blogs I used to read and sick of seeing outfits composed entirely of free items. My wardrobe traditionally has been split into "work" and "weekend" but now I work in a place that doesn't have a dress code I'm sticking to my jeans and jumpers and ignoring my beautiful blazers, shirts and pencil skirts, banished to another wardrobe. But part of this is because I rarely wear heels during the day, and having short legs, I don't fancy a pencil skirt with flat shoes. I guess I'm just stuck in a rut and in desperate need of some new inspiration.
Wow this post took an unintentional turn towards the miserable! Sorry about that. I promise I'm not feeling as mopey as I seem! It's a new season and lots of things have changed, and I think with my foot injury and Phil moving out of his flat and a new job I'm just craving some routine. I'm sure I'll settle into one soon.
Today, once I got through not having Insanity to do, has actually been really nice. I went food shopping with my dad and got home and made soup for my lunches at work. Then Phil's Mum picked me up and I went to the pub to watch Liverpool with Phil and his sister, Suzie. Then my parents came to get me and they had a cup of tea and a chat with Phil's family which was really lovely.When I got home I continued with my Sunday meal planning and cooking! I made Quorn tagine for dinner tonight and tomorrow, endurance crackers for dipping in my soup at work, and I've got an egg and quorn sausage casserole in the oven for my breakfasts this week. I had my acrylic nails taken off yesterday and for the first time in my life I have long, natural nails so I'm spending tonight painting them! I've loved having acrylics and although my nails are weak, I've never had them so long as a life-long nail biter. I think I might have finally broken the habit!
Hope you've had a lovely weekend.

Charlotte x

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Right Way, the Wrong Way and the Whitby Way

In my post from last week, amongst the moaning about Insanity and my foot injury, I mentioned that I went to Whitby with Phil's family. They go every August bank holiday weekend so it was lovely of them to ask me to come along too! On Friday they picked me up and we headed up to York for the night. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos in York (even though it is such a beautiful city!). We started out with a tour of York Brewery and spent the rest of the day mooching around. In the evening, Phil, his sister Suzie and I did a ghost walk (after much deliberation and consulting of TripAdvisor to find the best one!) and the guy that did it was pretty scary and didn't break character once. It was a little early at 7.30 and it wasn't fully dark, but I love a good ghost walk, and this one was excellent.
On Saturday we drove to Whitby and headed to our hostel, which is right at the top of the 199 steps right by the Abbey. On Saturday, Phil's parents showed me some of their favourite places, and pointed out all of the places they have stayed over the years. While Phil missed a few trips while he was at Uni, Suzie has been every year since she was 18 months old (she's 16 now). Afterwards, Phil, Suzie and I headed down to play on the arcades where Phil spent way too much money being defeated by a cuddly burger and I won a whole 4p. FOUR PENCE. We then got the biggest 99s EVER, and met Phil's parents for dinner at The Magpie. If you don't know, The Magpie is probably the most popular Fish and Chip restaurant in Whitby and considered one of the best places for fish and chips in the UK. There is always a huge queue out of the door. But somehow, at 5pm on a bank holiday Saturday, we walked straight in. I had cod, chips, mushy peas (YUM) and curry sauce. It was amazing, I have to say. Up there with the best fish and chips I've ever had.

After dinner, we headed back up to the hostel to meet Phil's brother Andy and his girlfriend, Lizzie, who joined us for the last two days. Then we legged it back down to the front to catch the Whitby ghost walk. I like ghost walks! This one was also great, but I'm disappointed we didn't get a chance to do the Dracula walk, as Dracula is one of my all-time favourite books. Phil has promised me we can do it next year.
On Sunday, we walked to Robin Hood's Bay. The reason being- when I was 11, we went on a school trip to Whitby, but I was poorly after a few days and I had to be picked up by my Dad. I was having a great time and didn't want to leave, and my Dad remembers me crying that "they're going to Robin Hood's Bay tomorrow to dig up fossils" as the beautiful scenery rushed by. Because I missed out that day I have always wanted to go back. The walk to Robin Hood's Bay turned out to be very long, very uphill and very tiring. While the signs claimed it was only 6 miles, I think up and down all the hills it was at least 8 or 9. The walk took us 3 hours! This was also around the time that my foot started to get even worse. After a drink and a walk around, we took the bus back to Whitby, and Phil, Suzie, Andy, Lizzie and I went for lunch. Then Suzie, Phil and I went to play crazy golf (I am terrible!) before we went for dinner. After dinner we followed the usual Cantillon family tradition of going to see a production by the local amateur dramatics society, who are, to put it nicely, not the best actors in the world. The play was terrible, the acting was terrible, but we had a laugh. 
Monday was our last day, so Phil and I went down to town to look for some gifts and buy fudge before going to explore the Abbey and watch a live-action production of Dracula, which naturally, I loved. It was only three actors playing all the characters, and you followed them around various spots around the Abbey ruins. It was very well done and very funny and I enjoyed it a lot. Then after lunch, we packed up the cars and said goodbye to Whitby.
I'm already looking forward to next year's trip.

Charlotte x

Friday, 29 August 2014

On Having Too Many Goals (and being injured whilst trying to achieve them)

I'm a goal-orientated person.
I've never really seen this as a bad thing.
It's the kind of thing you say in job interviews to show you're driven and passionate and determined.
It's good to have goals, right?
Goals give you something to aim for.
Something to work towards.
Focus.

Here is a small selection of my current goals
- complete Insanity
- run a 5K in under half an hour
- beat my Stockport 10K time from last year
- run a 10K in under an hour
- run another half marathon
- run a half marathon in under 2:30
- run a marathon before I'm 30
- read at least 30 books this year
- cook a new meal once a month
- stop biting my nails
- visit 5 new places this year
- build my strength with consistent strength training
- practice speed work once a week
- run park run every Saturday

I mentioned in my last post that I hurt my foot.
It's looking increasingly likely that I have a stress fracture caused by Insanity.
Walking on it in Whitby didn't help and a week after I first noticed the pain, it hurts even more.
Only rest seems to help it.
Rest I don't have time for.

I also mentioned in my last post that I only have a week of Insanity left and then I've signed up for the Stockport 10K in less than 4 weeks.
While I struggled through Insanity on Tuesday, on Wednesday I couldn't even make it through the warm up.
It doesn't look likely I'm going to finish my last week of Insanity.
And it definitely doesn't look like I'll be running this race.

Last night, after a lovely meal out with Phil and his sister, I started to cry.
I have to finish Insanity.
I have to run this race.
I have to beat my time from last year.
I can't be injured, I have too much to I need to do.

It spiraled.

Suddenly it was, I'm getting worse at running. 
I haven't run a 10K faster than 1 hour 10 in almost a year.
I haven't run a 5K in under 32:30 since last October.
It took me 3 hours to run a half marathon.
I'm awful at running.
I'm awful at everything.

Then Phil pointed out the thing that was staring me in the face.
I had too many goals.
Did I want to finish Insanity or beat my 10K time?
While I started Insanity to help my running, it's unlikely I will beat my 10K time with only a few runs before the race after over two months off.
Do I want to run another half marathon, or run a 10K in under an hour?
Do I want to run a 10K in under an hour or a 5K in under half an hour?
I can't do all of these things at once.
Running long distances in my half marathon training took me away from speed training.
I taught my body to run long and slow, not short and fast.
I can't train for both these types of running at once.

I need a focus.

There are always going to be roadblocks.
Not being able to finish Insanity is killing me after 8 weeks of hard work.
But I know I can't push myself through this last week without making my foot even worse.
Which could damage my foot long term and put me out for even longer.

I'm sad.
I've missed running so much and I've loved Insanity.
Truth is, I wanted the Insanity tshirt. I wanted the before and after photos.
I wanted to have done it and proved I could do it.
And I know I could and I know missing one week shouldn't matter when I've done eight weeks.
But I didn't achieve my goal.

The Stockport 10K is my race.
My favourite race.
My hometown.
The first race I ever ran.
My first 10K.

But I can't do it with a fractured foot.

I've got a doctors appointment next week which will probably result in a referral.
Then I don't know what comes next.
But I know if it is a stress fracture I could be out for weeks.
6-8 weeks.

But you can plan all you like.
Have all the goals you want.
But like all the cooks spoiling the broth, you can't focus on multiple goals at once.

Running is my passion and my love and I've missed it these past few months.
But hopefully if I give it a break now, I'll have the rest of my life to run.

My goals shouldn't leave me disappointed and overwhelmed and frustrated.
They should keep me motivated and inspired.
I shouldn't feel like I'm constantly letting myself down.

It's great to have goals, it's great to strive for better, for more, for faster.
But not at the expense of health, of happiness, of mental health.

I've posted before the quote "you can do anything but not everything."
And never has it been more relevant.
I can't work towards those goals without being disappointed.
Worse, disappointed in myself.

As I moaned last night about my slow running, Phil reminded me of all the people who don't run at all.
I'm already beating them.

My goals are tbc...