Tips for learning that work life balance - and why it is so hard to get right




Outfit:
Orange and black floral maxi dress: Fashion World*
Black crossover bag: Kate Spade (similar)
Nude midi heeled sandals: Fashion world*

Are you even a millennial if you don't moan about how much you work? Our generation works such long hours and often has a hefty commute to boot. By the time the working day is over it's easy to feel exhausted. You feel like you spend your life either in an office or in a mode of transport getting to said office. Monday to Friday your life can become a bit of a blur and a waste. Here a few things to ensure I try to get work life balance some of the time!

Always take at least a 30 minutes lunch break
The British seem to have this working culture where they eat lunch at their desk and spend all their working day glued to their computer screens. Luckily I work on a desk where they actively encourage you to take time out and get away from your screen. I find even just 30 minutes away from my desk aimlessly walking down the high street, in and out of a few shops, can help me come back much more refreshed for the rest of the day. The fresh air does a world of good especially during the winter. If you have a long commute it can sometimes feel like you haven't seen day light as you leave in the dark and get home in the dark!

Learn to stay in at least one day over the weekend
If you work long hours during the week it can be easy to make frantic plans at the weekend so you feel like you're making 'the most' out of your free time. But come the time when the alarm screeches on a Monday morning you can end up feeling exhausted because you literally haven't stopped all week. Instead choose either the Saturday or Sunday to have no plans and take the day off to truly relax. Catch up on that Netflix series you keep meaning to start, bake that cake that you saw in your recipe book or potter around the house doing jobs that make you feel better.

Stop being that person who flakes
It can be all too easy to become a hermit when you spend a huge chunk of time working. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is leave your house and socialise when all you want is to have some 'you' time. But sometimes you need to force yourself to go out. Nine times out of ten you'll come home feeling glad you made an effort to catch up with friends.

Give yourself a break as soon as you walk through the door at home
Sometimes I spend my whole 90 minute commuter home thinking about work. I think about those emails I didn't have time to reply too, what I need to add to my to-do list the next day and I dwell on things if I've had a particular bad day. This really isn't healthy. If I really have to then I do think about the work I've left behind but as soon as I open my front door I completely clear it from my mind. The best way to do this is to walk straight into the kitchen and start cooking dinner. Following a recipe helps me to switch off as that's all I can concentrate on at the time. Then once Ive eaten I find it so much easier to put the woes of the day behind me.
2 Comments

What to wear in between seasons



Outfit:
Cotton red and white striped shirt dress: Zara (similar)
Light wash denim jacket: Primark (similar)
Silver three strap sliders: Birkenstocks
Grey cross over bag: Marc Jacobs (similar)

What is this weather eh? I always find it so tricky to dress for this type of weather. I'm also so over wearing jeans by the time the summer months roll around as I've been wearing them all throughout the winter. But thanks to the rain, its always a little bit chilly! My solution? A midi dress with sleeves and a pair of Birkenstocks. My feet always get pretty hot on the tube - TMI maybe? So my Birks always keep my feet cool. I keep a denim jacket on me in then morning as it's always pretty chilly at the time I start my commute. It's folds up - who am I kidding, scrunches up - pretty small so is easy to keep in my rucksack. A cotton dress keeps you cool and yet also dries out pretty quickly if you get caught in the summer rain. Which happens almost daily in England!

As soon as the weather becomes above freezing I seem to live in my Birkenstock sandals. They're so comfy, the perfect shoe when you're on your feet all day. Due to this obsession they sadly rarely make it past one season. In fact I had to chuck my very well worn black ones last summer in Mallorca because they literally fell apart on my feet. RIP. But Birks can be pretty expensive so I always try to hunt around for a bargain. TK Maxx always have a great selection online and in store. Alternatively check out Love The Sales as their Birkenstock sale* is pretty decent too.






0 Comments

Can you ever get rid of imposter syndrome?





Outfit:
Yellow polka dot dress: Zara
Black faux leather jacket: New Look (similar)
White plimsols: Converse

I've been working at my current job for over three years now and yet I'm still waiting for the day to be pulled into a separate office and be told that they've made a terrible mistake employing me. And it's not just me that has these irrational thoughts. Nearly all my friends agree with me. Despite being well established in our careers, we still have a massive fear that someone will find out that we've been winging it all this time and we're not qualified at all. It's all complete rubbish of course, as if we honestly couldn't do our jobs then we would be long gone and replaced with someone who could.

Imposter syndrome is very real and it can be very difficult to get the invasive thoughts out of your head. If you let it, it will continue to fester. I've had it ever since I've started Uni if I'm honest and I'm not sure it'll ever go away. But you can learn to bat it away.

Remember it's natural to do things wrong at work. The only way we learn is if we make mistakes. Use those mistakes to try and make yourself better, learn from them, adjust the way you work and then lock the thought of them away. Talking things through with friends always helps. As I've found, they often feel the same themselves and friends make a great sounding board. They'll often tell you what a Queen you are and trust me, that's a surefire way to make you realised that actually you do know what you're doing after all. Finally, sit down and think. Think about everything you've achieved at work. Did you manage to pull off a successful project? Did you kill a presentation when you were nervous as hell? Did you do a piece of work and get praised for it? The chances are you've definitely pulled something off that you were worried about. And if that doesn't prove you don't deserve your position in the company, then what will?

How do you deal with imposter syndrome? Tell me I'm not alone in having these thoughts!


1 Comments

The power of an accent




Outfit:
Faux leather jacket with fur collar: New Look (similar)
Polka dot midi dress: Zara (similar)
Black leather ankle boots: ASOS (similar)
Teal mini rucksack: Mulberry (similar)

I read something - don't ask me where as I never remember - that in the UK you can tell a lot about someone by the way they speak. You can tell their education, upbringing, region and class. You can pinpoint what region they're from just by the way they pronounce their words. How you're judged by peers can depend on your accent. This particular article by Faiza Shaheen after TV presenter Adam Boulton mocked her east London twang struck a cord with me. How dare he mock her for the way she speaks?

I was born and bred in Essex  - and I sound like it. When I'm around family and friends, I get lazy and drop my Ts, use shortened words and slang that sometimes doesn't sound like it comes from the English Language. When I meet someone new, I start talking like someone I don't even recognise. I pronounce my words more clearly and speak 'proper' because god forbid someone tells me that I sound like I'm from Essex. I have a completely different accent at work then I do at home. My dad once phoned me up at work and asked me 'why was I speaking like that? It didn't even sound like me...'

But why is this? I'm not ashamed of where I come from, I'm fiercely proud my working class roots and being an Essex girl. My parents have grafted over the years and taught me to never be afraid of a bit of hard work in order to achieve what you want. But yet I change my accent depending on who I am with. I hate the thought that someone will automatically judge the type of person I am. I've heard the sneers and jokes when I mention where I'm from more times than I can count. It's got to the point of almost reversed snobbery as when I'm introduced to someone with a cut glass accent, I sound almost like a parody of myself, almost daring them to judge me. We can have all the intelligence in the world and the best education yet we will always be judged on our accents.

It's odd isn't it? The power of an accent? We are all quite attached to how we speak, believing it to help keep a tie to where we're from. When I'm abroad my accent is even stronger as if I'm self-consciously trying to hang onto my Essex roots despite the fact I'm thousands of miles away from home. Shouldn't we be proud of the multiple regional accents we have all over the U.K? An accent should be a celebration of our roots, not used as a weapon to make us feel small and unworthy.


1 Comments

Why you should put satin pyjamas on your Christmas list


I don't know about you but as I get older, it becomes a lot harder to decide what to ask for for Christmas. I've been working properly for quite a few years now and things that I really want, I usually end up buying myself. Then the things that I can't afford to buy myself are far to expensive to ask for as gifts. Quite the palaver eh?

One thing that I would never buy myself but would absolutely love to receive as a gift are silky pyjamas. There's something so luxurious about going to bed in satin pjs. They feel so soft on your skin and make you feel like you've made an extra special effort to get into bed. Everybody absolutely loves receiving a pair of fancy pyjamas don't they? You can't go wrong!




When UK Lingerie got in touch to see if I wanted to pick something from the site I immediately decided that it would be a pair of pjs. After browsing for a while I stumbled across a gorgeous coral floral set with a cute lace trims. I love the unusual waist tie. They came in a pretty box wrapped in tissue paper. It's all about the small details. What a treat they were to receive. I'll definitely won't need to get change into something more fancy on Christmas Day thanks to these!

What's your favourite gift to receive for Christmas that you would very rarely buy yourself?

1 Comments

Is travel burnout actually a thing?




Outfit:
Black skinny jeans: Matalan (similar)
Black tunic: ASOS (Similar)
Checked blazer: Miss Pap*
Adidas trainers: JD Williams*
Red leather backpack: Michael Kors (similar)

Even just writing the title of this blog post has made me cringe a little bit. It's a bit of a tragic first world problem isn't it? I realise how incredibly lucky I am to have had the opportunity to see much of the world that I ever thought was possible whilst I growing up. Not every one can have the privilege of travelling and I completely understand that. It took me to about the age of 24 when I went to Berlin to realise that people like me could travel and see anywhere in they world they wanted too. No where was really out of bounds, I just had to save up and work hard to make it a reality. Since then I feel like I'm been eager to squeeze in any many countries, cities and towns as I possible can just in case I can't manage to see everything I want to.

This year I will have taken seven flights by the time 2019 rolls around. I never thought I'd say this but I feel like it was too much. I feel like I've hardly spent any time at home and my year has been spent living out of a suitcase. Seeing the world is such a beautiful thing but it can be exhausting. Constantly getting used to new cities, never really having a base for more than a few days, unable to settle into a routine and constantly feeling like you have to be 'on form' to make sure you make the most of your surroundings. I feel like I'm neither coming and going. I've been so incredibly busy that I feel like I'm on the verge of a burn out. It's no longer enjoyable.

Admittedly next year I do have two big trips to take and I'm so excited to tick Malaysia and Las Vegas off my bucket list. I still can't quite believe I'm going! But after April I'm going to take a step back. Take things a bit slowly and enjoy my home I've made with my boyfriend. I want to spend a lot more time within these four walls and spend my weekends in my home town. Not words I ever imagined I would ever say! I've always been so keen to leave it behind... Here's too having friends round for wine and cheese, spending evenings wrapped up in a blanket watching Netflix on the sofa and experimenting in the kitchen with my collection of cookbooks.


1 Comments

Taking inspiration from Cher Horowitz

Thanks to being on a strict budget as I save for Malaysia, I've taken a step back from my shopping habit. For someone who likes to see her wardrobe constantly updated it's been hard. But I am discovering things I completely forgot I had so this cloud has a silver lining. Despite my lack of funds it hasn't stopped me browsing the internet like a mad woman, frantically saving things in my wish lists just in case I win the lottery. A lottery which I never do. I should probably start doing it each week if I want to be in with a chance...

Now one thing I have noticed on my website travels is how checked patterns seem to be taking over the high street! They remind me of Cher Horowitz, Clueless never gets old for style inspiration does it? Now I'm sorry to bring this up but before we know it we'll be heading straight into September and it's that 'back to school' feeling. So can dressing like Cher be anymore apt?!

Here are a few things that have been catching my eye. Pinafores, skirts, co-ords and shirts, there's something to tickle everyone's fancy! If you're on a budget like myself, it's worth keeping an eye out for any online discount codes to help save a few pennies. There's lots of different websites out there, you just need to know where to look. One such site is Groupon who offer discounts for Clarks, JD Sports, Guess, Nike and M&S. The more savings you make, the more you can spend. Isn't that how it works?!

Are you going to be taking inspiration from Cher when the autumn hits?
Without meaning to jinx things, is anyone else looking forward to starting to shop for autumn? No? Just me then - this sunshine is great but it's kinda lasting a bit too long now.... 



ASOS red checked shoes £28, ASOS check mini skirt £30, ASOS pink checked blazer £52, Topshop orange check mini skirt £32, River Island blue checked heels £42, River Island boucle mini skirt £15, New Look mustard cardigan £27.99, New Look red and black check backpack £17.99, New Look black and red jumper £24.99
2 Comments

Dealing with travel anxiety




Outfit:
Nude flat sandals: Matalan (similar)
Blue striped cotton sun dress: Zara (similar)
Red tassel earrings: H&M
Gold boyfriend watch: Michael Kors (similar)

I don't really have a list of places I want to visit in the world because I want to see every single place that I possibly can. I've been lucky enough to visit some amazing places but have yet to venture anywhere that is too out of my comfort zone. Probably the only place that comes close is Budapest. We stayed in Pest which is traditionally the 'working class' district and I came across some sights down the side streets that really threw me a bit. I've visited quite a few cities in the States and whilst it's a place that has a few culture shocks, it's a country that English is the main language so it feels slightly familiar to home. I've managed to muddle around every place I've been too so far because they've spoken a decent amount of English. So although I've been able to jump in feet first into all these incredible cultures, its always been done with a bit of confidence.

I've been dying to spread my wings and visit Asia but there's always been something holding me back. If I'm honest with myself I think it's because I've been too scared. Scared to go somewhere that is completely different to what I'm used too. I just know it will be so far out of my comfort zone that I'm frightened to take the plunge. Last year one of our good friends moved to Malaysia to teach for a couple of years. I've never had such a great opportunity to finally tick south-east Asia off my list so we booked flights to visit next February for a couple of weeks. We're staying with him for a week during his school holidays then Connor and I are heading north for a week to explore on our own. I am so excited yet feel absolutely petrified.

I know as soon as I get there I'll have a whale of a time and won't want to come home. I've been dying to visit south-east Asia since I was 16. But there's just little niggle at the back of my wine that wonders what on earth I'm doing. I'm worried that I'm going to be on edge in a country so vastly different to my own that I'm not going to be able to enjoy it. Which is absolute absurd as I love nothing more than discovering new places. I'll be a bundle of nerves on the 13 hour flight over there but we've got to keep pushing ourself out of our comfort zones otherwise we'll never grow right?

Do you suffer with travel anxiety too? If so, how do you deal with it?


1 Comments

Learning to pick your battles





Outfit:
Silky black wrap top: H&M (similar)
Skinny black leggings: Matalan (similar)
Red pointed shoes: Next (similar)
Gold tassel statement earrings: H&M

I'm very highly strung. A trait I have inherited from my dad. And probably my mum too. We are a family of quick tempers which causes for some lovely explosive arguments. Something that first freaked out my boyfriend when we first started going out! I'm not one who is afraid to voice my displeasure and often lash out. Part of me thinks this is great as people will always know exactly how I feel. I don't have a poker face and I know personally, I like to know where I stand and know how other people feel. But the other part? The other part thinks this is tiring. It is tiring to always be fighting. It consumes so much energy and if I'm honest, I really can't be bothered anymore. I increasingly just want an easy life.

Learning when to stay quiet isn't about 'losing' or appearing 'weak'. If anything it means you're being the bigger person. It's so liberating to take a step back and and admit that this is one battle that really isn't worth losing the energy over. By picking to fight every single battle doesn't get you anywhere. You reach a stalemate and if the two of you are as stubborn as each other then that stalemate will last for a long time. All that negative energy doesn't do anyone any good.

Next time someone really gets under your skin, take a step back and really think. Wonder if it is really worth it going in all guns blazing and try not to act immediately. Arguments always have consequences and sometimes they're not consequences you always want to deal with. So make sure that the issue you're fighting over is truly worth it. Ask yourself if the battle will matter to you as much tomorrow or next week as it does currently. Chances are emotions are just running high and it's not actually that important. It's amazing how much better you will feel after opting for the quiet life!


0 Comments

It's ok to let go of your dreams





Outfit:
Red midi dress: Primark (similar)
Light wash denim jacket: Primark (similar)
White espadrille sandals: Next (similar)
Red leather backpack: Michael Kors (similar)

I'm a dreamer. A girl that always has her heads in the clouds. A girl who always has 101 dreams she wants to fulfil. Ask my boyfriend about all my big ideas and he'll tell you he's the one who has to be my anchor to make sure I live in the real world. My main dream in life were to work for a newspaper. There were times when I never thought this would happen. Namely when I was interning for free for a whole year gaining job rejection after job rejection. And when I was made redundant from my first magazine job and making no waves in the freelance world. But finally it happened. Finally I was able to say that I did in fact work for a newspaper. Dream ticked off. But alongside that main dreams were little ones. I've always wanted to live in London. But now I've bought a house on the outskirts in Essex. I've always wanted to travel the world. But I've only actually been outside Europe twice, both to the States. I've always wanted a Chanel handbag. But realistically could never justify spending a couple of grand on a bag when I have a lemonade purse.

You put hours upon hours of time and energy trying to make your dreams come true. Everything you work towards in life has an end goal of making that dream come true. We're taught that if we work hard enough then our dreams do come true. So it can be so soul-destroying when you feel like you're not getting anywhere. They start to consume every hour of your waking day and you feel like a failure because it's just not working out how you imagine. As you get older, those dreams seem to get further and further away. Real life gets in the way and before you know it you're tied down with a mortgage and suddenly hit the grand old age of 29. Buying this house felt so final. In a way, it felt like I was giving up on the dreams I had yet to fulfil. I think that was why it took me a good few months to get my head around it. I was mourning the loss of my dreams. Owning a house is such a big commitment and one that we would be tied into for the next 35 years.

As we got our offer accepted on the house, I realised that I probably wasn't going to live in London. We bought a doer-upper home in Essex as house prices were cheaper. It's a huge project and thanks to lack of funds, one that will probably take about five years to complete. We did have high hopes of buying and renting it out then renting in London. But that's looking unlikely as who will want to rent a building site and after all this hard work, I'll be damned if someone else gets to live in here! I've also had to accept that I might not have a year travelling the world. I'm going to have my travel fix through weekends away and a two weeks trip. Those dreams that 16-year-old Sophie had are put on the back burner and I'm unsure if they'll ever come true.

It's ok to finally put a dream in a box and accept that it's never going to fulfilled. Some dreams just aren't meant to be, no matter how much you wish they are. Instead concentrate on what you have achieved, not what you haven't. Think about everything else you've done, maybe even things that didn't even figure on your list. Sometimes we achieve dreams without ever realising they were dreams in the first place. And sometimes those are the best ones.


0 Comments

Has Spring finally arrived?






Outfit:
Yellow animal print shirt: ASOS
Distressed skinny jeans: George at ASDA (similar)
Red Gazelles: Adidas (similar)
Red leather backpack: Michael Kors (similar)
Khaki military style coat: Primark (similar)
Gold hoop earrings: Sacet*

Despite the ever constant rain, it does seem like Spring might finally be trying to appear. The days are finally getting longer thanks to the clocks and the skies are looking distinctly less gloomy and dark. This Winter has felt longer than usual so am over the moon for the change in the season. I felt like I wore the same clothes every single day in an attempt to try and keep warm so am really enjoying wearing some new in pieces that have found themselves in my wardrobe.

My uniform seems to be a shirt and skinny jeans so I was keen to add some colourful shirts to my endless collection. Yellow is my favourite colour and this animal print shirt felt like it had my name written all over it. The length is perfect and it doesn't need ironing which is my idea of heaven! I'd been after a smart backpack for a while as I've given up with handbags for every day. I carry just too much too and from work and need to have comfort as my back was really struggling with all the weight on one side. I spotted this bag in Macy's whilst I was in NYC and it was reduced from nearly £300 to £105! Whilst it was still pretty pricey, it was a complete bargain that I felt I couldn't leave behind. The size is perfect and I adore the vibrant red. Special thanks to my dad who gave my mum and I some money to treat ourselves with!

After falling out of love with earrings for a while, I'm well and truly back on wagon. You only have to read my statement earrings post to see that I can't stop treating myself. Sacet got in touch to see if I would like to have a pair from their range and I fell head over heels for these simple 18K gold hoop earrings. I'm absolutely loving hoops at the minute and these are big enough to make a statement yet small enough to still be subtle. Ethically and consciously crafted, the website lists the makers who create your jewellery. It's really nice to see the story behind each piece. They come in gorgeous packaging and would make a lovely gift for someone.

Finally I was treated to a new haircut from Rush* in the St Paul's Cheapside branch. I didn't have too much cut off it as I'm growing it to eventually donate it to charity. But I'd been pretty slack at getting my hair cut so it actually had a lot of spilt ends. So I had to have more than I wanted cut off but it feels so much nicer with a fresh cut. As always my experience in Rush was so relaxing and I came out feeling so refreshed. There's actually an offer on at the salon which gives 50% off for first time customers if you fancy sprucing up your look for Spring!


0 Comments

My tassel statement earrings collection

Like everyone else on social media, I've fallen hard for the statement earring trend. In particular the tassel statement earring trend! H&M and Primark seem to be killing it with their selection at the moment. Here are a few that have tickled my fancy.


Navy blue tassel
I showed my mum these and the first thing she said was 'ugh they're disgusting' which means they are bloody brilliant. Sorry mum! I spotted these in Primark and thought they were an absolute bargain at only £3. I love the fact that they're completely over the top and are so long. I think they're a great pair to jazz up a casual jeans and tee at the weekend.

Hot pink tassel
I loved these so much that I've bought them in three different colours. My red pair are currently broken and are waiting to be fixed. I first saw this style on Hannah Gale and knew that I had to hunt them down. I would buy them in every single colour if my bank account let me. In fact I have my eye on the mustard pair. I love the fact they have slightly more going on rather than just a huge tassel. My favourite way to wear them is with an all-black outfit alongside pink lipstick. That way I can pretend I'm at least 5% cool.


Black tassel
Again these are a Primary purchase. I think they were slightly cheaper at £2. Bargain eh? Admitted the last pair I bought from Primark fell apart so I'm hoping these last a little longer than a few months. I feel like these are the most subtle out of the four and a great introduction to the trend if you don't want to go all out at first.

Gold tassel
I only wear gold 'proper' jewellery so I feel like these are just a supped up version of that! They're so tacky and remind me of Pat Butcher who is a massive earring style icon in my books. Again I like to wear them an all dark outfit or a crisp white shirt with skinny jeans. Paired with a bold lip, they really help to make you look fierce. Did I really just write that?
0 Comments

Search This Blog

About me

About me
A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

Get in touch at
sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

As from July 2015, all PR samples will be marked with a *.
Follow

Blog Archive

Design by elevatormusik. Powered by Blogger.

Copyright

All content copyright to The Story of a Girl Who Lives Above Her Means unless stated otherwise.