Why do you blog?

I made the decision to link my blog to my Facebook almost as soon as I started blogging as I thought it would help increase awareness and drive traffic but whenever people find out that I have a blog, they invariably ask "Why do you blog?" and I am always caught off guard and fail to give a good answer. For those who don't blog, sharing so much of your life online is a scary thought and for many, it is seen as self-obsessed and narcissistic. I mean why would anyone want to look at pictures of you showing off a dress or a new pair of shoes? 

I read blogs before I wrote one and as many people did, I thought "I could do that too!" and so decided to set up Frills 'n' Spills with Danni. When I first started writing, it was scary but I soon found that the blog became my creative outlet. It wasn't just an online diary (no-one wants to read about arguments I have with my siblings :P) but rather a journal of experiences. It meant that I was able to catalogue the highs and lows of university, moving away from home and generally finding out a bit more about myself in the process. 

As cliché as this may sound, blogs and blogging are such an inspiration for me. I have been inspired to wear clothes which I would never have dared to even consider before and to conquer my fear of standing out and looking different. This little blog has inspired me to be more confident, dress better and (hopefully!) improve my writing and photography skills at the same time.  I like the fact that I can see a Topshop dress on another blogger with a similar shaped figure or a lipstick on another pale person and see whether it is likely to suit me. I'm not a 5'11" willowy blonde (my childhood ideal!) but I'm OK with that, blogs provide me with the inspiration to learn to accept this fact. I'm not gonna lie, there are days where I just want to chop all of my hair off or somehow stretch my legs out a bit more but 90% of the time I am happy with the way I look.  I'm sure that getting older also plays a part but blogging has encouraged me to expand my horizons and to grow in confidence, no bad thing surely?

The blogging community is the best part of blogging for me and I have met some really amazing people through it. The support and feedback I received when I posted about my struggle with depression simply blew me away. I have had millions of inane questions answered, clothing items tracked down and support in both the good and bad times. What more could you ask for? I genuinely thought that due to the sheer number of females involved in blogging, people would be catty and mean and I have been lucky enough to be proven wrong. Anyone I have ever met has been really lovely and I have never met a blogger who doesn't reply to an email or a tweet. I think Twitter really helps with getting to know the person behind the blog better and I know that I am an addict! Blogging obviously has it's ups and downs (see Jen's posts HERE for an informed and  insightful take on some common blog issues) but I have never regretted my decision to start a blog and I hope I will be able to blog for a long time yet! :)

Why do you blog? Do your friends and family know about your blog? 

EDIT: I meant to include Bee's post about Blogging vs. Real Life as she covers this topic much better than I do! I think feelings like this pop up fairly often if you're a blogger so it's worth sharing :D 

This week has been... full of elbow grease

Moving in and out of university accommodation each term is probably one of the most stressful things that I have encountered. I am guaranteed to forget something vital or lose something in transit and so I have to be organised enough to remember everything the week before I am due to leave...Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am completely disorganised but this time, I managed to get all of my chores done and watch a couple [read 15 or so] of episodes of CSI: Miami - only to clear the V+ box you understand! :P

I have to eat all of the food out of the fridge and try and clear the freezer: dinner yesterday consisted of steak, broccoli, sautéed potatoes and fried onion. Not bad considering I had absolutely nothing useful in the fridge! I had a rummage through the hundreds of bread rolls I have in the freezer (I don't know why as I rarely eat rolls?!) and managed to unearth this steak which made a very hungry Maria, VERY happy!

Blueberry muffins

I had promised my family some baked treats and turning up without them would have resulted in me being turned away at home I think! I made blueberry muffins, ginger bakes (supposed to be biscuits but ended up being more cakey!) and Malteasers cakes. Luckily, these went down well and I was welcomed back home with open arms and the cakes were quickly devoured by the hordes of my hungry siblings ;)

My weapons of choice against the gross black mould that had taken root in our student bathroom. Luckily a few hours (!) of elbow grease later and the bathrooms were sparkling clean again :) I never realised just how much dust our house produces too, do all houses do this or is it just old ones? 

I can't really complain too much though as I got a Lindor egg for my troubles from Mark. I think I'm a Lindor addict, I seriously can't get enough of that chocolatey goodness...I just wish the boxes of them weren't so expensive as they are £5+ a box, not really suitable for a student budget :(

This was all of my stuff packed up and ready to go! I am really looking forward to spending some time at home but I will miss the independence of living at uni- the difficulties of students ;) I will be playing about with my camera and the gorgeous location I live in, so expect some photo heavy posts very soon :) 

How do you motivate yourself to do your chores? Do you like a change of scenery?

Granny chic...

I want to introduce you to my new friend; a metallic skirt that treads the fine line between granny and chic. It is so lightweight, so perfect for Spring, and the beautiful coppery brown colour tones down the twee pastel tones I have been pairing it with! It really is true love... It's not something that I would usually go for, but I think that is one of the reasons why I love it. It is such an unusual colour and a slightly more challenging length than I'm used to, but I have so many different combinations planned out! I think the difficulty will be prising it off, rather than trying it on! 

Skirt: Miss Selfridge, body: Primark, jacket: New Look, wedges:New Look, belt: New Look,  badge: The Very Hungry Caterpillar via Waitrose, rings: Miss Selfridge, pasty legs: model's own
I cannot believe how lovely and warm it has been this past couple of days too! The sunshine was so warm here that I even discarded tights to embrace wedges for a taste of Summer [Apologies for my milky white legs, they haven't  been exposed to sunlight before today!] I did get some funny looks and the occasional car hornas I skipped through the park but I was having too much fun to care! 

You can also see my new haircut in these pictures! I didn't have much trimmed off but I had a load of the weight taken out and my hair feels so much better for it :) I went to a little salon called Cabello Hairdressing in Kenilworth and I can really recommend it, the stylists are always lovely and friendly ( I always have Michelle) and you get a cup of tea or coffee...what more can you ask for?! 

You can see the horse print on the body a bit better here, I thought it added a bit of interest to an otherwise plain outfit and tied in the colour of my accessories. I was inspired by the way that various bloggers have worn the [now infamous!] Topshop pleated skirt, as collated here by Hannah  and I think the knotted belt is a bit more 'fashiony' than my usual skinny waist belts. 

Nail varnish: Barry M raspberry c/o Susie
I have a weekend of essay prep and house cleaning/sorting ahead of me so I am already planning ways to break up these rather dull tasks, most notably catching up o my new favourite show; Glory Daze, a bit like American Pie but set in 1986. If you haven't seen it yet, then check it out on 4OD because it is so funny, the last episode had me laughing all of the way through and it is full of really cute guys (I'm in love with Joel, what a cutie! <3 )

Are you a fan of Glory Daze? Do you challenge yourself to try new styles?
P.S. I am selling some clothes HERE so please take a look and help me pay off my overdraft!

A very hungry Maria...

Two for one pizza and cinema? Yes please! I don't think there's anything nicer than a half price date, especially when your boyfriend takes you to see the gorgeous Ed Westwick in Chalet Girl! I wasn't sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it! I definitely think Ed aided my enjoyment of a fairly predictable storyline but the gorgeous setting of the Alps helped,I now really want to go skiing too, it looks so fun :)

My hair was absolutely huge this morning so I just added some serum and blasted it with a hair-dryer which gave me loads of really big curls. I can't wait to have it cut though, but I still don't know what to do with it! Shall I go shorter for the summer? 

Top: H&M, skirt: H&M, jacket: New Look, shoes: Dorothy Perkins, badge: The Very Hungry Caterpillar via Waitrose
I love this stripey top, bright skirt combo and think it is such an easy look whatever the weather, I just add layers to suit! 

Luckily  it was lovely and sunny again today so I just added the jacket for in the cinema. Is it just me or are they always freezing? One of my badges was the finishing touch this outfit needed and so many people commented on it :)

I swear Pizza Express have the nicest pizzas in the world, I had the Giardiniera pizza with asparagus and it was amazing... I was already tucking in when Mark was trying to take the picture, haha!  

We are really looking forward to using the Orange 2-4-1 offer again soon as it was such a lovely way to spend the day, and a meal and cinema ticket with change from £10? BARGAIN! 

What's your favourite thing to do on a date? How should I have my hair cut on Friday? 
P.S. I am selling some clothes HERE so please take a look and help me pay off my overdraft!

This week has been...full of treats!

This week I finally managed to get my dissertation handed in, a day before the deadline (this is the first time this has happened in the entirety of my degree!) Since handing it in , I have been on such a high, there is nothing that really compares to that buzz and I am really enjoying the free time before I have to start work again :)

My title sounds SO exciting! :P 
Whenever I have finished some work or met a deadline I like to treat myself to something nice and what could be nicer than some 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' badges?! They were reduced from £4 to £0.49 in Waitrose and I couldn't resist them, the fat caterpillar is my favourite :D I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, any ideas? 

Waitrose is very bad for both my waistline and my bank balance and Gu puddings are oh so good! 

Eggs for breakfast? Only if they're Mini Eggs! 

My business cards arrived! I have been trying to find a nice case for them but hadn't managed to find one so I bought a plain metal case from Paperchase and did a little D.I.Y :)

I could seriously buy everything in Paperchase, so adorable! I limited myself to some stickers with food items with faces, what could be better?! 

Nars Sheer Matte foundation in Deauville

I bought this Nars foundation with my ASOS Groupon deal and so far I love it! The packaging is super luxe and feels nice and expensive. The only issue I have with it is trying to get the foundation out as there's no pump or spatula- any tips? 

1. Your name and blog name 2. URL 3. Write 'A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog' 4. Favourite quote 5. Favourite song 6. Favourite band/artist 7. Anything else you want to say!
A fun little exercise from Laura, I'd love to hear your answers! This is seriously the best song: definitely give it a listen! R.E.M. – Find The River

What have you been up to this week? Have you treated yourself recently? 
P.S. I am selling some clothes HERE so please take a look and help me pay off my overdraft!

Purple picnic...

With the first rays of sunshine, it seemed only appropriate to break out the sleeveless dress and sunglasses and hit town for some shopping. Originally I planned to just return a dress I ordered off Dorothy Perkins but one thing led to another and I ended up with some lovely treats... I have a post to come on those! Leamington is so pretty in the sunshine and everyone seems much more smiley when there's no grey clouds looming on the horizon :) I'm still not convinced whether I like leopard print, maybe it's a grower?

Dress: H&M via charity shop, scarf (used as belt): via Laura, cardigan: Mango, shoeboots: Office, sunglasses: my brother, bag: Fiorelli (18th birthday gift) scarf: Primark
After having a mooch around for some goodies, Mark and I went for a little picnic in the parkwith our housemate James. It was so nice to just sit in the sunshine and feel its warmth, albeit briefly as it soon got cold, even with the blanket we put on the park bench! ;) We managed to get some Waitrose sandwiches for next to nothing so we munched those along with some reduced treats from Co-Op (can you tell that we are students?!) 

It was really nice just to relax without having to set a deadline for when work had to start again! I can't wait till after the Easter holidays when it will be sunny all of the time [fingers crossed!] I even managed to match my yoghurt to my dress ;) 

make avatar

My photo poses clearly don't vary that much from picture to picture, haha! I am looking forward to finishing off the last of my work this week before heading home for a few weeks, I literally cannot wait to see my family again :)

What do you like best about the sunshine? Do you colour co-ordinate your food with your wardrobe?! 
P.S. I am selling some clothes HERE so please take a look and help me pay off my overdraft!

Buried treasure...

Skirt: Laura Ashley, top: H&M,  jacket: Principles at Debenhams. belt: H&M, shoes:New Look
There are certain items in my wardrobe that I have had longer than I can even remember. My mum bought me this skirt about 6 years ago and I wore it all the time...it even featured in a number of films! ;) When I got to uni though, it languished in the back of the wardrobe because I simply didn't know how to wear it. This past week though, the browns in this outfit reminded me of the gorgeous colours in this skirt and I pulled it out to wear last week. 

The heavy cotton material makes this skirt feel really expensive and I really love the shape. I added the belt to cinch in the waist and also to hold up the skirt. Without the belt, this skirt is much longer and I don't know if I'm quite ready to embrace the midi length. 

This wall has become my new favourite place to take photos, the bricks are such a gorgeous rust colour which I seem to be referencing in all of my outfits recently! I must admit, I did get some funny looks when Mark was trying to get a picture of my skirt swooshing around, I don't know if Kenilworth is quite ready for fashion bloggers just yet! :P

OOTD: Outtake of the day, provided when my hair flew into my face with the wind!
I am also VERY happy to say that I have finally handed in my dissertation! It is such a relief to not have to worry about it (well until I get my marks back!) and I am embracing the free time before I start revision and exams!

What treasures have you unearthed in your wardrobe recently? What colours do you keep returning to?
P.S. I am selling some clothes HERE so please take a look and help me pay off my overdraft!

Fancy becoming an Aussie Angel?

This Spring, Aussie are giving you the chance to  win 1 of 10 opportunities to join in the Aussie fun.  If you'd like the chance to win, you need to answer the following question in light of their latest mission to get our hairdos feeling as light as possible this Spring! I have had so much fun with Aussie over the past year and have met some truly lovely people too so it's DEFINITELY worth entering :D
“Put a spring in your spring! Tell us, how would you lighten up your life? #AussieLight”

To enter this competition, you have to write a blog post answering the question above and then tweet the link to them (@YummyHair). All of the terms and conditions are HERE so take a little look and give it a go! :) The competition is open until midnight on Sunday 20th March 2011, so get your thinking caps on! 

Winners will be chosen by the Uncover Aussie team based on the most creative response that reflects the Aussie spirit. This means videos, pictures, stories or even songs can be their 
blog post entry - just as long as they answer the question. Simples!

Good luck!
P.S. I would LOVE to see what you come up with so make sure you leave me the link :) 

In the pink...

Whilst I own a few pairs of trousers, I had never really put them at the top of my 'to-wear' list until I bought this pair from  Miss Selfridge. I'm still not sure what made me click 'Add to basket' (maybe it was the fact that they were £7.20?!)  but boy am I glad I did! The flared shape has meant that I have worn them with heels but also with flats and my legs look long and lean, a rare occurrence at 5' 4"! I would never usually choose trousers with so much material but I think it works with these bad boys! 

Trousers: Miss Selfridge, top: H&M, cardigan: gift from Mark's mum, belt: Miss Selfridge, shoes: M&S via charity shop, necklace: gift from Mark, bag: Peacocks
I have realised that these photos look like I don't know what an iron is but these trousers have the annoying habit of becoming very creased whenever you sit down. Apart from that though, I have no complaints about these trousers. They are not at ALL what I would usually pick but somehow they fit right into my wardrobe. They did get me a few glances when I wore them but I think that makes you stand that little bit taller and get your strut on! 

I love these trousers so much that I wore them solidly for about a week, for such a bright colour (they are described as rose gold but I think they are more of a pinky coral colour) they are surprisingly versatile and I have a few patterned t-shirts that will be getting an outing with these trousers. I don't know what it was but I literally couldn't wait to wear these again, I had my outfit laid out before I went to bed and I knew that they would (literally) brighten up my day :) Seriously, I was like a kid at Christmas! 

Trousers: Miss Selfridge, top: Zara, jumper: Hugo Boss via jumble salejacket: Principles at Debenhams belt: Zara, shoeboots: Office , necklace: gift from Mark, bag: Fiorelli (18th birthday present) 
I prefer the second outfit merely because it's a lot less casual and I really like the brown with the coral. Looking at these pictures is quite odd as I look pulled together and [gasp!] like an adult... the opposite of how I actually feel at the moment, I can't wait to get home and see my family in the holidays :D 

I have so much love for these outfits! This is one of the reasons why I blog, I like documenting my sartorial experiments and trying new things out. The Maria of a year ago would never have tried these trousers but I think they are a subtle (?!) nod to the 1970s trend without going too trendtastic...

What do you guys think, have I managed to pull off coloured flares? What clothes are you wary of?