Sunday, 1 March 2015

Wishlist: March

March Wishlist

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 

February was hellish month, money was very tight so I bought absolutely nothing, clothes-wise. Now March is here and although Newcastle feels like the windiest city in the world, temperatures are finally starting to warm up. 

I really really need a new pair of jeans after ripping 3 of my 4 pairs last month (I told you February was hellish). I'm looking to branch away from my beloved Topshop Jamie jeans and try something new and these Farleigh jeans from Asos are so perfect. I saw them on Asos stylist Gamze and fell in love with the relaxed fit. I was shocked to see that they were mom jeans as they are more modern and sleeker than other styles that I've seen. 

Now, I'm not a flat girl but since coming to uni I have had to embrace life with a heel that's a little closer to the ground. It's opened me up to the world of flat shoes that lies outside the basic ballet flat. These ones from Asos are super cute and will add a little pop of colour to a simple jeans and jumper combo. 

I saw this Zara mini croc bag on Shirley's youtube and instantly needed it. I do not lack oversized handbags, but sometimes you just don't want or need to be lugging those things around. This mini city bag will be perfect for carrying just my essentials. 

Sleeveless trenches have slowly filtered into my sartorial subconscious. I love how they are a subtle twist on the usual trench coat. It might even make me look like a pulled together fashion girl, right? 

Dresses are another thing that I'm trying to embrace. I definitely do not own enough dresses. I love this dress's subtle nod to the seventies trend. Now I just have to make sure I don't end up looking like a librarian...

What items are on your radar this month? 

Martha xo

Saturday, 28 February 2015

30 Day Wardrobe Challenge

30 Day Wardrobe Challenge

In a bid to break free of the student styling rut I've found myself in I've created a little 30 day wardrobe challenge. I'm also going to upload my challenge snaps exclusively to Instagram in an attempt to breathe some life into my instagram account (I have seriously been slacking).  I'm posting the full challenge list and the rules exclusively below because, I don't want to overload my Instagram with a word heavy post. Make sure you're following my Instagram (@Marthadahhling) to get the latest challenge post. 

The rules

One challenge will be completed and posted to Instagram each day. The challenges will not be in order but will be captioned with their corresponding challenge number and title. They will be a starting point but can be interpreted as widely or as narrowly as you like. 

 If you'd like to get involved, leave me a comment below and let me know where you'll be sharing your photos. 

The Challenges

1) Go Bold or Go Home: Wear a bright colour combo - 2 or more colours 
2) HOTD: Handbag of The Day
3) Not just for a special occasion: Wear an Item that you've been saving 
4) Blinged out: Statement Jewellery  
5) Show some Love: Wear an item you haven't worn in 3 months 
6) Hat-Trick: Have a little fun with hats
7) Sneaker Game Strong: Swap out your heels with sneakers
8) Not so Neutral: Make a neutral outfit interesting  
9) What's Clashing? : Clash your prints 
10) Layer Cake: Create a look with at least 3 layers 
11) Tonal: Go Monochrome/tonal in a bright colour 
12) Nipped and Tuck: Tuck it in 
13) Doubling Up: Double up on your denim 
14) Cinched: Belt up your outerwear 
15) Daytime Clutching: Rock an oversized clutch bag during the day 
16) Comfort Zone: Try out a trend you're afraid of 
17) Sleek: Keep it sleek and simple with a blazer, plain tee and jeans combo 
18) New Length: Try a new hemline 
19) Nailed it: Nail Colour of the moment 
20) A little Shade: Wear that lipstick shade you never wear 
21) Sassy Scents: Your Scent of the moment 
22) Borrowed from the Boys: Go for some androgyny 
23) Down-dressing: Dress down your dressier item 
24) Mixing it up: Style a beloved wardrobe item in a new way
25) Tighter than tights: Try Coloured or patterned Tights 
26) Texture: Add an unexpected/bold texture to your outfit
27) Exposed: Style an exposed triangle bra 
28) Socks + Heels
29) Sweatshirt Dressing: Style up a sporty sweatshirt
30) Go Wide: Try out this seasons wide leg trend

Edit: I changed number 26 because it was very similar to number 17 :) 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Inspiration: Do Denim

source: pinterest

Let's face it. As a Uni student, I live a lot of my life in jeans. Whether I'm fighting gale-force geordie winds to get to uni at 10 am or dipping into town to grab a coffee with a friend, I'll probably be wearing some jeans. As much as I try and fight the allure of the cottony-blue comfort, it inevitably draws me in. So instead of continuing to swim upstream, I'm just going to let the current take me. 

Now, the key issue here is avoiding falling into a rut. Currently my denim ensembles consist of skinny jeans + jumper + flat shoe (maybe an ankle boot if I'm feeling adventurous) - might be  refreshingly simple on Alexa Chung, but on me it's just boring. So I put together a little moodboard to help me spice up my denim. I think the secret to living in jeans but not ending up in a rut is to switch it up as there are so many options. Boyfriend can be cuffed and worn with a heel, skinny jeans can be paired with a belted blazer, cropped jeans can be paired with a denim shirt and helloooo white jeans! I may even try flares. 

I think it's time I expand my denim wardrobe beyond my beloved Topshop Jamie Jeans and embrace the denim! 

Martha xo

Monday, 23 February 2015

Lifestyle: How to manage stress & stay on top of things

In case I haven't said it enough, second year Law is incredibly stressful. From the first day of term in September right through to the last exam, there are no breaks, literally. You can never do enough reading whether it's cases, textbooks or articles, you can (and probably should) always read more. People love to highlight that their degrees requires just as much work as a Law degree, but I would firmly refute that, unless you do medicine. That is not to say I think a Law degree is harder than any other degree, it's not, but the volume of reading necessary to attain high grades is overwhelming. 
Whilst I may largely live in the library from Monday to Friday, I feel like I have finally mastered the art of balancing work and play. It takes a whole load of dedication and if you really want to play, those 8 hour sleeps may become a distant memory, but I think finding the balance is not only good for your productivity but also for your wellbeing. So here are some tips that I've found really useful for staying on top of things. 

  • Get a daily planner/diary

The best way to stay on top of things is to get organised. Having a daily planner/diary lets you put all your activities in one place ensuring you can plan your time effectively and that you won't forget anything. I like to use a filofax, but you can use your phone calendar or make yourself a wall calendar. I like to put everything that I have to do in it, from social activities to meetings to uni deadlines, that way when I'm writing to do lists for the day I can plan things around how many commitments I already have. 

  • Lists, lists and more lists

Lists are my best friend and they should be your best friend too. Lists are a great way of ensuring you're productive and focusing on what you actually need to do.  When I have a lot of deadlines coming up I like to write a to do list of overall tasks for the week. I then like to subdivide those tasks into manageable mini-tasks for each day. So, for example, if I have an essay to write, my overall task might be research the essay question then my mini-tasks for the day might include a list of all the sources I need to read for that day. It's also important to make sure your lists are manageable, don't write a daily to do list of 20 things you have to get done when each task will take you 45 minutes, you'll only end up frustrated when you don't achieve all that you wanted. 

  • Set realistic, workable time limits 

Personally, working solidly for hours on end really isn't my thing. I've found that if I break my time up into workable chunks I get so much more done overall. It's really important to take regular breaks, even if that means checking out for 10 minutes to scroll through Instagram or play Candy Crush (a few of my guilty pleasures) as it will refresh your brain and get you ready for the next chunk of work. I personally like to work in 45 minute chunks after which I find my concentration levels dipping but some people can do anywhere up to an hour and a half.  It's important to find your ideal concentration time and schedule your breaks accordingly. Also slot in some longer breaks, like an hour for lunch and maybe a 30 minute mid morning break. 

  • Eat the biggest frog first 

Do the least exciting or most difficult task first, when your brain is the freshest. Putting it off will only make you more frustrated when you actually come to carry out the task, so get over and done with and out the way. 

  • Wake up early

I was very reluctant to adopt this habit, being a firm believer of 8 hours beauty sleep a night but I've finally realised the error of my ways. Surprisingly, I feel much more awake when I've had a solid 6 hours of sleep. Waking up earlier, logically, means you can get more out of your day - giving you enough time to work and relax yet not compromise on productivity. I tend to set my alarm for 6:45, giving me enough time to snooze but by 7:30 I have to be out of bed and getting on with things. 

  • Have a cut off point

This is easier when you're at uni or school because obviously jobs can require you to work late. It's so important to just have a cut off time where, even if you haven't completed all your tasks for the day, you just stop working and relax. For me, that's usually around 5:30/6pm. The inner perfectionist in me doesn't particularly like to stop if I haven't achieved everything I wanted for the day but it is really important for your wellbeing.  Being able to draw a line in the sand contented with what you have achieved for the day and not focusing on what you haven't achieved will put you in a more positive mindset for the next day's work. Often, after your cut off point, you can step back and see that you've achieved a lot which will prove to you that you can achieve the same amount the next day (and the next) without working like a dog.  

  • Take whole days off 

Sometimes you just need a full day to recoup, to have a lie in and not think about all the deadlines you have to meet and all the work you have to do. It's important to take whole days off so as to avoid burnout, because burnout is the enemy of productivity. So relax, allow yourself to enjoy the day and let all the deadlines and work take a backseat, fill your day with things that are purely for fun. It'll re-energise you and get you geared up to get back on the horse the next day. 

I hope you've liked this post and that hopefully my tips will help any of you guys that struggle with stress (ha! who doesn't?). 

What are some of the way you guys like to manage that work-life balance? 

Martha xo

Friday, 20 February 2015

Can we Just Start Over?

Hi my name's Martha and I have been a shit blogger. 

Feels good to just get that off my chest! I know I often write these posts when I get a little bit of bloggers remorse and come back with lots of excuses, promises and new directions and what not. This post is going to be no different. I've still got excuses to offer you, promises to make and new directions to talk about but I always feel like you can only really fail at something if you don't pick yourself up and try again. 

So first things first, where have I been? Well I have been all over the place! Second year has been incredibly challenging, from boyfriend drama, to neighbour drama, to baby mama drama (kidding about the last one) and of course the workload is about 128973298782877 more. It is safe to say that since I moved in in August, I've been one massive ball of stress and it feels like every time I sort out one problem another one crops up (or return, in the case of my crazy neighbours), but I feel like I have more of a handle on things now. 

One thing that has also suffered incredibly is my wardrobe and general sartorial being. Being a student makes you scruffy (or is that just me?) and being a student in Newcastle is anything but sartorially inspiring (sorry, not sorry) but before I start pining for my beloved diverse and effervescent Birmingham let me get to the real point of this post. 

The new direction

I feel like it's always good to have a plan of action, otherwise how in the world do you know what you are doing? I plan to post regularly again - at least 1 to 2 times a week - I plan to get a post out every Sunday and one other day during the week. I think I've resigned to the fact that full outfit shots are not my thing, especially without the help of my photographically talented little brother, so you won't be seeing any of those in the near future.  I'm not exactly happy with my current lack-lustre manner of dressing anyway and my perpetually empty bank account hasn't really allowed me to buy anything fancy for what feels like forever. Instead, i'm going to focus on collating inspiration, dissecting looks and trends and lifestyle type posts for now.

So yeah, hopefully we can have a fresh start and the black hole of uni life won't swallow me back up. 

Martha xo
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