What to wear on a cruise to Norway...

Last summer, I went on my first cruise: a trip down the Norwegian fjords with my in-laws on P&O's ship Iona and wanted to share what was in my suitcase for a week-long cruise. Before I went we made our usual packing list (find a downloadable Google doc here) but there were a few things I wish I had brought, along with a few things that I wish I had left behind as I didn't use or wear them.

 So to help you learn from my mistakes, here's a week's worth of Norwegian cruise outfits!

25 years of diabetes and me...


This year marked 25 years of being a Type 1 diabetic. Unsurprisingly I have mixed feelings about this; on one hand I am proud that I have made it this far (not an easy task at times) and on the other I am cross that I have had to. I have written before about my diabetes but basically I was diagnosed not long before my eight birthday and my whole life changed overnight...

Giving people their flowers...

I think it is fair to say that we all have things that we may have done differently with the benefit of hindsight, but bad things notwithstanding, I don't know who I would be without all my life experiences, both good and bad. Like many of us, I have spent the last couple of years seeing so many people suffering through losses, grief and regrets and it has made me even more conscious of why telling people how I really feel is so important.

A little while ago, we spent an afternoon on our family holiday visiting the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Us adults had a wonderful time whereas my niece announced that she "didn't like donkeys" not long after her arrival which is just about typical for a toddler!

The sanctuary is truly lovely and well worth visiting if you happen to be nearby, but the part that stuck with me the most were the beautiful dedications to loved ones that were dotted around the sanctuary. People had shared tributes and they were all so heartfelt. One set in particular really moved me; Leonard (Len) sharing his love for Joyce brought me to tears.

Following our visit, I became fixated on the idea of what my memorial would say and how I would like to be remembered. I asked Mark and my family to buy me a memorial plaque (although my living status apparently puts a spanner in the works). But honestly? I can't think of anything nicer than having a tangible reminder that you can visit and cherish alongside the person.

I am a big fan of being upfront about my feelings and since then, I have tried to use this impetus to tell people how much I love and appreciate them, while they can hear me say it, whether that is face-to-face, over a call, text or in a letter. (I thoroughly recommend writing love letters to your best friends, is there anything nicer than unprompted love in the post?!)

There is something so wonderful about being known and I don't want anyone to have any doubt about how I feel about them (good or bad). It's easy to say that you won't have regrets and hard to make that a reality but you will never regret sharing your true feelings. 

It is terrifying to be vulnerable but wouldn't you rather get and give your flowers while you can truly appreciate them? 

Maria xx

A tentative hello...

Recently a lot of the bloggers I have loved and followed for a long time (many of who I am privileged to call friends) have decided not to renew their domains and I have to tell you, I was so tempted to do the same but despite only blogging once a year (max) for the last gazillion years, I am loathe to completely say goodbye to this corner of the internet just yet. 

I have so many half-written posts that I just can't quite pull the plug yet. Clinging onto my youth? Nostalgia? Naivet├ę? Who knows! But why not pull up a chair and fill me in on how you have been?

How I wore: patterned flared trousers

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery right? Because when I saw the beautiful Nicole Ocran in these jazzy flared trousers, I couldn't help but copy her. If you're not already following her, you should be, she has an awesome eye for an outfit and is as lovely as she is stylish. Yes, I may have a slight crush! I was a little unsure of how to style these trousers but decided to embrace the 1970s vibes and incorporate these earthy tones to match. This top is actually a dress I have had since 2011 (!) and it matched perfectly. It's always fun to dig back into your own archive and I still have all but the coat and scarf from that outfit post. I'm not sure whether that's impressive or tragic but let's go with the former! It's not often this happens but this trouser/shoe combo has made me look relatively tall which is always a win in my book!

Top: Mango (actually a dress), trousers:Oliver Bonas, shoes: Topshop, earrings: Topshop
I can't resist a good lipstick and this is Nars Giusti satin lip pencil, it's a gorgeous rosy brown and  the perfect 'your lips but better shade' if you are pale like me. I really rate their lipsticks and this has been on repeat for when I just want to look slightly more polished. Over the last year I have also become obsessed with earrings. I have never had my ears pierced (and I probably never will!) so I have been enjoying clip on styles from people like the lovely Julia de Klerk or adapting non-clip on styles with some clip backs and superglue. That way, I still get a jazzy fix without having to resort to anything more permanent.

Earrings: Topshop (adapted by me), lipstick: Nars Giusti
A slightly better look at the shoes. I usually would avoid slingbacks (I have weirdly narrow ankles!) but they are the perfect summer-y shoe and as they are leather, they should last for a long time. I love a block heel all year round so these are a nice way to 

Who is your style crush? How would you style these trousers?

Grey and pink...

Long time, no speak! It feels strange to be back here writing when it has been so long since I last posted (and even longer since I was posting regularly!) but I guess that's what happens when life gets in the way! We took these photos a long time ago but as I style this dress the exact same way every time I wear this dress, I figured it was still worth sharing! I never used to be one for either midi lengths or trainers but this dress was my first step into a whole world of comfort. I love pale pink and grey together and the grey sweatshirt element of this makes it super easy to wear and cosy to boot!

Dress: Topshop, shoes: Converse 
I have spent a lot of time (and money) trying to find a skincare regime that works for me and Caudalie seems to be the holy grail! I don't know what magical ingredient it is in their products that suits my skin but it has made me a lot happier overall, even without make-up. All I am wearing here is a swipe of Glossier's Boy Brow (another favourite of mine) and some tinted lipbalm, younger Maria could have never...

I do love a dramatic ribbon! 

I spotted these rose gold Converse in the Office sale a few years back and immediately fell in love. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I like shiny things so it was inevitable that they were coming home with me. They made trainers feel much more accessible to me and for that I will be eternally grateful! They are also proof that basics don't have to be boring!

How do you jazz up your basics? Which colour combinations so you always come back to?

Spring staples: the trench coat

Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons, I hate being too warm so anytime I can get sunshine without boiling to death is a winner in my book. April showers though can be tricky to dress for. Luckily this jazzy trench coat is the perfect final layer for drizzly days. I have been a massive Whistles fan for as long as I can remember and eBay is my best friend when it comes to finding gems to add to my wardrobe (without the premium price point!). I'm definitely not one for a minimalist capsule wardrobe (I like the range of choice!) but certain things you are likely to find in lots of people's wardrobes and trench coats are certainly one of them. No boring beige for me though, this baby is more brown sugar than blah...

Coat: Whistles via eBay, top: Topshop, jeans: Gap, shoes: Betty London, necklace: Accessorize
The overall effect of this trench coat is pretty classic but the colour is more brown than camel which is much nicer and more flattering on my pasty pale skin tone. I really like the oversized shape and the belt is great for cinching you in too. The best part about it though? I look and feel like a private detective whenever I wear it! Which is pretty fitting really when it comes to my social media stalking skills ­čśĆ

You really can't go wrong with a red lipstick and this one by Chanel is perfect! It's the Rouge Coco in shade 440 Arthur and I really love the finish (so much so, I also bought it in Etinenne!) My hair is getting longer and longer again and although I still have a lot in my wardrobe from 2013, I'm not sure I could ever go back to super long hair

Teeny bags are truly my kryptonite, I absolutely love them but with the amount of junk I lug around on a daily basis, they are just too impractical. This Brit Stitch half pint satchel is teeny but I can just about fit my phone, bloods stuff and a few cards. The colour is really unusual and it may not be practical, but it sure is fun!

Where do you find your basics? Could you ever have a capsule wardrobe? 

A fresh start

It has been a long time since I have posted on my little corner of the internet but I wasn't quite ready to pull the plug just yet. I started this blog with Danni nearly a decade ago (!) and I never imagined all of the different opportunities it would open up for me. Nowadays I am a social media marketer by day and I'm less inclined to take photos and rattle off a post when I get home from work, mainly because my need for a creative outlet is much less urgent than when I was working at ASDA for instance. The usual joys of stress and pressure have also piled up so I couldn't dedicate the energy I needed to make this a feasible part of my everyday routine.  
I still love seeking out bargains and styling up outfits though, so expect to see a bit more of that here. Mark and I also bought our first house back in December 2018 so a lot of our disposable income is going on finding pieces for that rather than adding to my ever-expanding wardrobe! I have also set myself a challenge to read more books than last year and I'm pleased to say I'm already 40 down towards my target of 130. If you've got any recommendations, please do let me know. Looking forward to re-acquainting myself with everyone's blogs (hopefully at least some of my faves are still posting!)

Here's to fresh starts!

Candy pink...

Bright colours have long been a staple in my wardrobe and this candy pink Whistles dress was a fun workwear addition. The shape was boxier than I would usually go for but paired with some fun shoes and a jazzy necklace, it was much more firmly in my comfort zone. I am a big fan of sleeveless dresses (I am always warm!) and I can't wait to layer this one up with some stripes and a polo neck!

Dress: Whistles (via eBay), shoes: Topshop, necklace: Topshop
I have had this necklace for nigh on 7 years (!) and although the attached leaf is long gone, it is still one of the pieces of jewellery I have on regular rotation. It is simple but so unusual, not bad for a Topshop sale bargain! My hair has got so much longer recently and I have really been enjoying brushing it out into soft waves. It does have a mind of its own so I sometimes have to use my GHDs to help tame it. I really should do more with my hair as it does hold a style when I bother but I am just too lazy, I would much rather have an extra 20 minutes in bed...

These shoes were another Topshop bargain a while back and I love them They are ridiculously comfy and make a real statement without being completely impractical. I am always a bit wary of wearing heels with higher hemlines but I think the chunky block heel and the straps helps to stop them from looking too much, what do you think?

Where do you buy your workwear?

A fresh start...

2017 highlights ❤
2017 was another strange year for me, it was busy but a lot of fun too. The biggest thing I did was starting my new job back in April and as a result, the rest of the year just flew by. I have missed blogging but every year I seem to end up writing less and less blog posts. Katy has written much more eloquently about this but I guess life just gets in the way sometimes! I'm really looking forward to 2018 (we finally booked our big trip to New York City and Washington DC, eek!) and although I can't promise to be back blogging regularly, I will share snippets here and over on Instagram as and when I feel the urge.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018?