Golden Hour Delight

Well hello and a Happy New Year! Yes, you read that correctly, because believe it or not this is my first blog post of the year. I wish there were a better excuse for the delay, but for some reason writing for myself seems to always be placed on the back-burner. It puzzles me when I do this because I really enjoy writing. This is why I thought I’d strip it back to basics and write about a topic I enjoy…

Vintage shopping has always been a passion of mine. There is a real sense of joy in discovering a new item that only you will have. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve started to encourage myself to invest more into vintage/secondhand pieces, hence reducing my high street consumption.

IMG_7885

Like a magpie, I’m attracted to shiny things. Which explains why my eye was instantly drawn to this golden delight of a dress.

From the shift-like skirt to the Peter Pan collar, this dress was giving me 60s vibes galore. I also particularly enjoy the ripples of gold thread cleverly intertwined within the pattern. This detail complemented with the softened powder blues and oranges gives the dress an almost “faded” aesthetic. Thrown together with some black accessories and a pair of 60s inspired snakeskin boots, and the look is good to go!

IMG_7908

This is the kind of dress I can see myself wearing on a date one week and a festival the next. This approach to outfit planning helps reinforce the fact that clothing should not only be purposeful but sustainable to.

Eilis X

Photographs by: Morgan Barfield
Dress: Vintage
Boots: Topshop (link to boots)
Beret: Charity Shop
Bag: Accessorize (no longer online)
Coat: Vintage

 

The Awkward Dinner Guest

For the last 10 months or so I have been a dinner guest’s worst nightmare.

This wasn’t a deliberate occurrence, it just kind of happened. It hadn’t always been this way, in fact I used to pride myself on how I would eat pretty much anything that was put in front of me. As much of an inconvenience I feel now, these changes had to be made for the better.

d78279ad-aed1-41a3-ae1b-58f54d454067-1

Approximately 2 and a half years ago I discovered I was gluten intolerant.

There were a number of things that lead up to this discovery and it was a lengthy process to figure out what was causing me so much pain. For as long as I can remember stomachache and bloating have always been a part of my life. Then, after a few bad bouts of food poisoning in short succession the stress on my body eventually caught up with me.

Originally I was diagnosed with IBS, but when the medication still wasn’t fixing the problems I was tested for Celiac disease. For those who don’t know celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten a protein found in wheat, barley and rye (aka the good stuff). Thankfully the results for celiac came back as negative, however the doctors did diagnose me as gluten intolerant.

As a lover of beer and bread this was a tough pill to swallow.

As it’s not within my nature to do things by halves (especially when it comes to portion sizes), I then made another amendment to my diet.

At the beginning of this year I decided to stop eating meat.

Prior to that I was a full-blown carnivore. I had meat with practically every meal and enjoyed my steak rare. Like I said… pure carnivore. It was an overnight decision, I just woke up one day and didn’t fancy eating meat anymore.

The irony in all of this though is that I actually LOVE food, so it absolutely kills me every time I have to turn down treats that are kindly offered to me. My fear is that people will take it as me being rude but I can assure you that is really not the case. I’ve just come to understand that not all food works for everyone.

On the whole the response has been generally understanding. Obviously there are still areas where it could be improved, but the selection now from the majority of restaurants and supermarkets is quite wonderful.

I also can’t express how much I appreciate it when somebody remembers to cater for my ever growing list of dietary requirements. It’s really touching and makes me feel like less of an embarrassment.

So, if you ever have misfortune of hosting me for dinner please accept my apologies in advance.

Whether I like it or not, I just have to accept the fact that I am now a “fussy eater”.

Cheers for reading!

Eilis X

Photos: @girlonfilm__
Dress: Blue Rinse Vintage
Watch: Casio
Shoes: Vintage (courtesy of @girlonfilm__)

Anniversary of Good Habits

As some of you may or may not know, I used to be a smoker.

This was never something I was proud of but it was a part of my life for a very long time. The reason I bring it up is because last month marked 3 years since I ditched the fags for good.

I am aware that this is bit of a taboo subject which is especially frowned upon by the online community, but I wanted to be a little more transparent and act as a reminder that not everything is as crystal as it appears. Also, if this could somehow help at least one person and possibly be that extra push they need in order to quit then my job here is done.

Like a lot of smokers, I started when I was young. I was 14 when I tried my first cigarette (sorry mum).

I did it simply out of curiosity and in all honesty I was pretty underwhelmed; it was no way near as glamorous as it appeared in the movies. Nevertheless by the time I was 16 it had started to become a more frequent affair.

Back then a ten deck of Marlboro’s were the extent of my purchases and were reserved solely for social gatherings. I also made goddamn sure to never smoke at school. I mean, I couldn’t run the risk of getting caught and have my parents find out now could I?

Despite their best efforts, I foolishly went against my parent’s advice. I was a 14-year-old teenager with a head full of angst and a tendency to rebel. Looking back now, I am ashamed at how reckless I was especially given my family’s history.

When my mum was in her 20s, she sadly lost her dad to (you guessed it) smoking. If smoking hadn’t been in the equation, I probably would have gotten the opportunity to have met my Granddad.

With this in mind I desperately wish I had a better excuse as to why I started, but all I can put it down to was ignorance.

As I got older smoking became more of a common habit.

By the time I’d started university and my student loan had kicked in, I would sometimes be smoking up to 40 a day. Semi-wisely, I decided to cut down. I’d be lying if I said that cost wasn’t also a majoring factor in this decision. Nevertheless I decided to switch to rollups.

I was now on roughly 5-10 a day – which I didn’t think was too bad by regular smoker’s standards.

Then came along the chest infections.

To be fair, I had been experiencing some kind of sickness on an annual basis for years, and even though cheap student housing had a small part to play, deep down I knew whom the real culprit was.

Still, that wasn’t enough to make me quit entirely.

As addictive as smoking is, there is also a ritual that comes along with it…

Morning coffee, cigarette. Afternoon break, cigarette. Alcohol, cigarettes.

It wasn’t until one day my boyfriend and I were having a casual conversation and we got onto the topic of smoking. He had mentioned previously that even though him being a non-smoker, me smoking didn’t actually bother him.

Great I thought, I’ll carry on as normal then.

However, he then went on to say how it had crossed his mind how it could effect my future health prospects.

I was stunned. There it was as clear as day… someone else had taken more thought into my own wellbeing than I had.

Almost by accident and possibly triggered by this conversation, a couple of days had gone by and I didn’t actually need a cigarette. Before you know it a week had passed and I hadn’t touched a single one.

Granted this easy streak wasn’t going to last forever. Having been a smoker for the best part of 10 years it was bound to catch up with me. To say my body needed nicotine was an understatement.

Seeing as I’d never used patches before, I chose to go down the route of e-cigarettes.

Those first 3 months were a real rollercoaster of emotions with Glastonbury proving to be the biggest test of them all.

Drinking and smoking had always gone hand in hand before now – so this was the first real hurdle I had to get over in order to crack the habit.

For those who aren’t familiar, the best way I can describe the craving is like being very, very hungry for one specific type of food. Now triple that sensation with the addition of alcohol.

I’m not going to lie it wasn’t easy, and there were times where I wanted to give up and feed the addiction. What really helped, was to surrounding myself with supportive people and reminding myself each time of how far I’d come.

Like any life changing action such as losing weight, becoming vegan, quitting smoking – they all take time, effort and a whole lot of patience.

Now, 3 years later I can confidently say I have a much better control over my cravings and only arm myself with an e-cigarette when necessary.

If you’re um’ing and ah’ing about quitting then let’s be blunt… the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Your senses are numbed when you’re a smoker. Not only has my sense of taste and smell improved, but I am now able to climb a flight of stairs without becoming breathless.

There will be times where you will want to cave in and “just have the one” but if you are already trying to bargain with yourself, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

If you list the positives to why quitting is good for you, you may be surprised at how strong your willpower actually is.

All the best

Eilis X

T-Shirt: Primark
Dress: Primark
Boots: The Fashion World (gifted)

Eilis_28th-April_Edit-92

 

 

 

 

Little and Often

Well hello and thanks for stopping by.

My my what a hectic couple of months it has been. Granted it’s all been exciting stuff such as holidays, shoots etc. but it is nice to return back to the normal routine. Nevertheless, I have been looking forward to writing this post for a while.

Hallelujah, it is finally Spring!

This means the weather’s supposed to pick up right?

Well, whatever this British weather decides to throw at us it’s got to be better than the day we chose to shoot this look.

In true Manchester style we had a right concoction of weather. Sun, hail, wind you name it we had it.

January, I know doesn’t seem all that long ago until you realise that oh heck, it’s flipping May already.

If you have been following me for a while, you will know I like to keep things pretty cost savvy.

This in no way shape or form means I am against luxury purchases, on the contraire. In fact I believe it’s very important to treat yourself every once in a while, just as long as it’s within your means.

Cue the January sales.

Fred Perry has always been a brand that I’ve been fond of, so when they had a limited 50% off it seemed discourteous to overlook. The sale also happened to include the Amy Winehouse collection that I’d had my eye on so it seemed like a perfectly plausible time to make a considered purchase.

In my eyes, Amy was and probably always will be one of the greatest female artists of this generation. She was unique and her style truly encapsulated her personality. It’s actually something I try to achieve every time I get dressed.

When it comes to buying anything, you should always ensure to get your money’s worth, I decided to set my sites on a cardigan, but what attracted me to it?

Eilis_Edit-65Firstly, the embossed leopard print. It kind of speaks for itself; animal print plus the shiny shiny – I was sold.

Secondly, the couple of embroidered red hearts on the left shoulder. Let it be known I am sucker for any kind of embroidery. Being the granddaughter of a tremendous seamstress, I have a lot of appreciation and respect for anything stitched.

As styling goes for underneath the cardigan I wanted a relatively blank canvas. As I was a little stuck for what to pick, my lovely boyfriend offered me his white Fred Perry polo. I mean, if that wasn’t a match made in heaven I don’t know what is?

Now, let’s talk about the jeans. A bold choice some would say, but wouldn’t life be dull if we weren’t a little brave once in a while? It’s got everything I like in a trouser such as a wide-leg, high-waist, cropped length and bold in colour. Not to mention they’re comfy af.

To be fair these jeans deserve a post of their own but I feel they were triumphant in tying this look altogether.

So there you have my considered treat purchase. Not only is this a nod to a once great performer but it will be a piece that I can cherish for years to come.

Cheers for reading

Eilis X

Cardigan: Fred Perry
Shirt: Fred Perry
Jeans: Primark
Boots: Zara

Home from Home (MAN – LIV)

Growing up on the outskirts of Manchester, I was fascinated by the city from an early age. As an outsider looking in, Manchester appeared to have it all going on. The notion that anything and everything could be at your doorstep was simply captivating.

tumblr_mvf6lv5LZP1r69m4bo1_1280Manchester was right at the heart of things, and I wanted to be part of it.

tumblr_mvf6lv5LZP1r69m4bo3_1280I guess you could say my indifference towards suburban life fuelled the desire to explore. As soon as I was old enough (and my parents were trusting enough), weekend trips to the centre became the new norm. The more I ventured throughout the streets, the more I familiarised myself with the surroundings.

When people ask me why do I love this city, I struggle to answer it. How does one simply describe a feeling? The closest I can get to an explanation is by imagining a large magnetic pull, that no matter how far you venture or how long you’ve been gone for, there is always a welcoming sense of home.

tumblr_mvf6lv5LZP1r69m4bo5_1280Once college was completed, I was presented with the tantalising decision of which university to attend. As much as I loved Manchester, I was ready to expand my horizons. A new environment, a fresh beginning. Of all the options I had at my disposal, none were further south than Sheffield.

In all honesty, I never experienced the pull towards the “Big Smoke”.

From what I had seen of London so far, I liked it, but I wasn’t quite sold. I was pretty content with what the North had to offer. There was also the considered bonus of not having to take out another student loan should I need to travel home in a hurry.

tumblr_mvf6lv5LZP1r69m4bo9_1280After not much deliberation, my sights were set on yet another great Northern city, Liverpool. Every time I visited, I felt an instant connection. I don’t even think the sorting hat in Harry Potter could have placed me better.

For every difference both cities had, there was always a parallel.

tumblr_mvf6lv5LZP1r69m4bo7_1280The first notable difference was the sense of scale. If Liverpool were a drink, it would be double concentrate squash. Just as much to offer, only less of the walking!

Now, let’s not forget about the climate. As renowned as Manchester is for being grey, it’s reliable. Whereas Liverpool appears to have its own microclimate and can produce a right scorcher of a day. Granted, it can get a bit windy, but what more would you expect from a coastal city.

Another variation that’s hard to miss… the accent. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I love a Scouse accent. Maybe it grew on me while I was there, or maybe I associate it with fond memories of the past. Either way, there’s no denying it’s one of a kind.

Now, back to the likenesses.

tumblr_mvf6lv5LZP1r69m4bo6_1280When Derby Day is regarded as religious as the Sabbath, to say us Northerners are a little football mad would be an understatement. Whether your preference is blue or red, there’s a team for everyone in either city.

As someone whose sense of style is very much influenced by music, these are ideal settings to live in. From The Beatles pioneering the 60s, to the outpour of Britpop in Manchester, one thing’s for sure, both cities are drenched in musical history.

tumblr_mvf6qea8ga1r69m4bo5_1280Lastly, and possibly the most important quality is the sense of community. Both cities have witnessed their share of misfortune but in times of sorrow, it only brought the people closer together. Maybe that feeling of home is actually generated by the people, and that’s what makes these places feel so God damn special.

I really hope you get a chance to visit these great cities, and if happen to like them half as much as me then you’re in for a real treat.

Cheers for reading,

Eilis X

 

Written for thisisthenw mag
Photos by Eilis Anne
Halina 35mm

Thank u, next

If you were to define the word friendship, the regular response would be “the relationship between friends”. Great, but what is the actual meaning of friendship? Unfortunately the answer remains entirely subjective, based on each individual’s level of standards, ethics and morals.

For the record, I am not claiming to be the perfect friend. Does that mean I’m a failure? Of course not, no one’s perfect. I will simply be sharing my views on past experiences. Might even throw in a little bit of advice into the mix as well, why the heck not.

Let’s begin by revisiting those who taught me the first lessons in friendship… my family.

Growing up I recall my siblings and I would bicker tirelessly over nothing much at all. It was here we learnt the basic skills of sharing and being kind to one another (well, at least while our parents were looking). More importantly, we were always reminded of how one day we would actually become friends. This message baffled me at the time but now, 20 or so years later I get it.

As a young adolescent, I discovered solace in friendships outside of the home. Good margins of these friendships were formed through the ritual of underage drinking. Sadly, a few were built on that foundation alone. It wasn’t until I reached my early twenties that I began to notice the cracks.

Despite our best intentions, friendships can fizzle out. As you become older (and allegedly wiser) you start to realize what you want in life. This is where the relationships in question become strained. The common ground that once bound you together has now faded away.

FYI – you don’t have to be friends with people you don’t want to.

You might discover your moral compasses no longer align, perhaps they never did? Maybe you’re the one who’s changed and grown out of old habits. Or, could you just be tired of the endless façade and simply want to move forward with your life. Whatever the reasoning, go with your gut and do what’s right for you.

It’s true what they say, the best lessons are the ones learned the hard way. Funny that, we can have all the advice in the world at our disposal but unless we experience it firsthand it rarely sticks. Similar to dating, breaking up with a friend can feel as bad as breaking up with a partner. Instead of dwelling on the past, learn and move on. As Ariana so eloquently put it, thank u, next.

Surround yourself with people who are genuinely happy for you.

Warmth and support are transcendent. There should be encouragement for growth but also respect for each other’s boundaries. Listen to them as intently as you would like to be heard, and if you can cry laughing whilst doing all of this, well that’s a bonus!

Friendships are a two way street, you get what you put into them.

Whether it is distance, commitments or simply time that gets in the way, it’s important to demonstrate effort. Understand a commonality between you both so that the other isn’t left hanging. If you start to feel like the effort isn’t bring fairly shared, then maybe take a step back and revaluate. It does take two to tango after all.

On reflection, I can truthfully say I am grateful for those past relationships. If it wasn’t for them, I still may not know the true value of friendship. Thankfully, because of the beautiful network of people I have around me, I’ve also gained something far more valuable, self worth.

Hope this helps any of those stuck in “friendship limbo” – also if you feel like you’ve been through something similar, feel free to message me in the comments below.

Cheers for reading,

Eilis X

IMG_9068

Inspired Looks and a Dose of Nostalgia

img_4299

Well hello! Welcome back to my small section of the internet. If you are new, holla! If you are revisiting, holla-back. Either way, I am thrilled to have you join me. This will be my second journal entry, this time I’ll be discussing my first experience at a “blogger” shoot.

It may seem unusual to dip back into the past and chat about an outfit from weeks ago, especially with it being New Year and all. So why revisit it then? Firstly, the look is still relevant. This has been made apparent from the amount I’ve worn it lately. Secondly, my confidence in writing at the time was next to non-existent. It still isn’t that great if I’m honest but hey-ho, I’m willing to give it another go!

img_4217

The truth is…writing requires a lot of attention.

Well, for me it does. I am easily irritated when I feel inadequate at something. Despite my best intentions, this is where my refined skill of procrastination comes into play. There was also the added (imaginary) pressure of, “this is my first documented shoot, I can’t F* it up!” which sent my nerves into overdrive. Then I remembered… I genuinely enjoyed piecing those looks together.

When shoot day inevitably came around, to say I was “bricking it” would be an understatement. Funnily, being in front of the camera wasn’t actually as painful as I’d built it up to be. Credit is mainly due to Alex (the wonderful photographer who captured and edited these snaps). If it wasn’t for his professional yet friendly character, I dread to think of what wooden expressions we would have ended up with. He put me at ease right away, simply by being an all round lovely chap!

The choice of location for this shoot was no fluke either; I really wanted it to be Castlefield.

It holds a lot of fond memories for me, old and new. When I was younger I was definitely more of a tomboy. Picture “Bend it like Beckham” except substitute Beckham for Van Nistelrooy. So, you can only imagine my excitement the day my Dad brought home an adult & child season ticket for Old Trafford. I was ecstatic; I’d never been to a football match before. From then on the routine went as follows: congregate at The Oxnoble pub, jump aboard a barge at Castlefield Bowl and then travel full steam ahead to the Theatre of Dreams.

img_4322

It wasn’t till I grew older that I started to appreciate the area for what it was, a marvelous piece of Manchester’s industrial history. I have a thing for industrial buildings, they always photograph so beautifully. So there we have it, nostalgia combined with one hell of a backdrop.

Lesson learned, when I’m feeling my outfit, it puts me at ease.

The initial attraction to the dress, which caused me to stop dead in my tracks in the middle of Tesco, was a memory of an Orla Kiely design I had seen a few years back. Minus the Orla-striped pattern, the parallels between the two were uncanny. Was it the autumnal inspired colours over a black background that jogged my memory? May it have been the pussy-bow neckline? Or could it be the synched in waist with below-the-knee hemline? Whichever feature it was, they all worked extremely well together. Pairing the dress with black boots and a faux-fur gilet were the perfect styling additions to top off this 60s inspired get-up.

img_4206

So there we have it, a salute to a greatly designed dress, but for an eighth of the price.

  • Cheers for joining me down memory lane.

Eilis X

 

Dress: FandF Clothing
Gilet: Topshop
Boots: Primark
Bag: Stradivarius

 

An Introduction to an Illiterate Writer

Well, hello and welcome to my first ever blog post!

If you’re reading this upon my request, then it’s probably because I know/love/value your opinion. Or, if you happen to be reading this of your own free will then thanks very much for stopping by. However you found your way here, I’ll try my best not to bore you rigid.

Right, well I guess I should really start this the way most introductions start. By telling you a bit about myself. My name is Eilis (Ay-Lish) and I’m a twenty-something living in Manchester. Please don’t be alarmed by the random assortment of letters that is my name. Another fact about me, I am a half Irish gal with a half difficult name. Despite my proud heritage, names in my family tend to resemble the remnants of a scrabble bag.

If it wasn’t already apparent to you… I am not the most confident of writers.

In fact, this is something I’ve been putting off for quite some time. Honestly, I think the fear mainly stems from the fact that I’ve never really done it before. Aside from the diary I held throughout my transition between primary and high school (which by the way I rediscovered the other day and had the biggest howl) I’ve never really written all that much for myself.

Strangely, the concept of taping myself in front of a camera seemed like a far less intimidating start into the world of blogging. So, if you haven’t already seen any of my videos or aren’t aware of the concept behind them, they are basically my tips and tricks of how to style your wardrobe whilst living within the constraints of a budget.

“Bargain Bay” was the name I gave this project. It may not seem a big deal to an outsider but for me it was the much-needed release I had been longing for. As a creative person, expression is vital. I have a solid appreciation for good design, whether it be in the form of fashion, illustration or graphics. Basically, anything that pleases the eye, in return, pleases me.

So, why start writing if I am already making videos?

It’s kind of similar to that old-fashioned parenting approach. You know the one where the child is scared of dogs? In order to resolve this fear the parents go out and buy the child a dog. Seemingly, by confronting the child’s fear head on it somehow rectifies the child’s anxieties. Pretty old school theory but there could be some method behind the madness.

The topics I would like to cover on this blog will be an amalgamation of fashion related matters; and on that theme of trying new things, I’d like to share some personal anecdotes along the way. Unlike a therapy session, my approach will be to touch on certain life experiences and lessons I have learnt throughout my time on this planet so far.

So, welcome, to my little creative corner of the internet. I hope you stick around.

–        Your favourite illiterate writer.

Eilis X