Glam

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

THE BALI DIARIES | STREETS OF UBUD

Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Personal style blogger travelling in Bali, Ubud wearing a summer maxi dress.
Blue Maxi Dress: Bali, similar here, here and here. Sandals: Emu Australia.
After Laura had exploded over text that 'OH MY GOD MEGS YOU ARE JUST GOING TO DIE AT HOW AMAZING THE CLOTHES ARE HERE', I knew I'd need a few extra pennies (and backpack space) to allow for some new items to add to my wardrobe from my trip Bali.

Little did I know that for the cost of a pair of knickers at Topshop I could buy an entire outfit from a local store over here.

GUYS, it's just SO cheap.

And when I say cheap, I am in no way referring to the quality of the clothes. These lot know exactly what they're doing and make some seriously lovely pieces, with the most incredible fabrics.

I picked up this dress from a small boutique on Hanoman Street in Ubud for 300,000 Rupiah - which works out at about £15 in British Pounds.
It's a higher quality finish that you'd see in the likes of our high street shops, for a fraction of the price - with a silky, soft texture it's lightweight enough to endure the suffocating heat you experience whilst holidaying in Bali; but it's also the perfect piece to layer come Autumn in the UK with jackets and chunky boots. It didn't feel too dressy for Ubud's casual attire but above all it made me feel happy when I put it on. Which is good enough reason to buy any piece of clothing, right?

You can shop my look here:



Photography by Laura Jane Williams


Thursday, 23 April 2015

THE BALI DIARIES | VISITING THE COFFEE PLANTATION

Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali

Wonderful You Travel Blog Coffee Plantation Bali
Crop Top: Missguided. Shorts: Bali (similar here). Sandals: EMU Australia (similar here). Sunglasses: Topshop.

I’m not a coffee drinker. In fact, I’ve consumed all of one cup in my entire 25 years on this planet. I just don't like it. Until I visited Bali, that is.

Truth is? Laura and I were doing a trip around the island, were about half way through and feeling absolutely shattered. We needed a boost.

Eddie (our awesome driver for the day), suggested we stop off at one of the local coffee plantations – SPOILER: they walk you around and then give you ALL the free coffee to ‘test’. We didn’t need asking twice.

Turns out it was actually pretty magical.

Our tour guide greeted us at the entrance - explaining about all the different coffee beans and tea plants, how they’re grown and the process they go through to make the purest, tastiest drinks. Twisted, narrow paths lead the way with the most luscious green plants framing the walkways.

He also explained how their most special coffee, Kopi Luwak, was one pooped out by a palm civet – yep that’s right. Pooped out by a tiny little animal and roasted for your enjoyment…

The luak, that's a small catlike animal, gorges after dark on the most ripe, the best of our crop. It digests the fruit and expels the beans, which our farm people collect, wash, and roast, a real delicacy. Something about the natural fermentation that occurs in the luak's stomach seems to make the difference – says Wikipedia.

See the black stuff around the beans in the picture above? That's poop. Tasty.

At the end were multiple coffee stations where we were asked to take a seat and got to sample every single coffee and tea they produce (apart from the animal poop one, that was too special to try for free but it's meant to be incredible).

But guys, it didn’t taste like regular coffee. It tasted good. A super creamy, delicious texture that left the most incredible taste in your mouth. Coconut, Chocolate, Hazelnut, so much goodness. And the teas, THE TEAS, let's just say Rosela Tea and I now have a thing going on.

Considering we were there for less than an hour it was one of my favourite spots we visited on the island. It was amazing to experience some of Bali's culture and sample local produce at the same time. And despite being a hot tourist spot, it did feel like we'd stumbled across a hidden treasure. We left feeling refreshed and peaceful - I mean, what a beautiful location, right?

Plus, I think I quite like coffee now.

Good coffee, that is. 

You can shop my look here:




Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Stepping in to Spring with Miss Patina

Wonderful You wears Miss Patina, a UK based vintage inspired brand. Step in to Spring with Miss Patina.
Wonderful You wears Miss Patina, a UK based vintage inspired brand. Step in to Spring with Miss Patina.
Wonderful You wears Miss Patina, a UK based vintage inspired brand. Step in to Spring with Miss Patina.
Wonderful You wears Miss Patina, a UK based vintage inspired brand. Step in to Spring with Miss Patina.
Wonderful You wears Miss Patina, a UK based vintage inspired brand. Step in to Spring with Miss Patina.
Wonderful You wears Miss Patina, a UK based vintage inspired brand. Step in to Spring with Miss Patina.
Wonderful You wears Miss Patina, a UK based vintage inspired brand. Step in to Spring with Miss Patina.
Jumper: Miss Patina. Trousers: Miss Patina. Shoes: Missguided
It's no surprise that Miss Patina are one of my favourite UK brands. They're a one stop shop for contemporary fashion injected with vintage inspired glamour - I mean, it's almost impossible not to fall head over heels for their feminine, pretty designs, right? Right.

And their Spring/Summer collection for 2015 is no exception.

There’s an overwhelming joy that takes over me when wearing these palazzo trousers, guys. Never have I found pants so pleasurable, for reals. They take inspiration from the 70's with pleated black flares and a high waist - and the elastic material means not only do they sway from your hips like an absolute dream boat, but they're also the comfiest, breathable trousers I've ever worn. I didn't stop touching myself throughout the day...so silky soft.

I've paired them with this knitted jumper and peep toe sandals from Missguided. The delicious details to the jumper literally makes me weak at the knees (HOW CUTE?), the sandals are super comfy and the little heel really compliments the length of the trousers. The outfit as a whole gives off an effortless Parisian vibe, the perfect outfit to step in to Spring with!

Shop my look here:





Thursday, 16 April 2015

THE BALI DIARIES | WHAT I WORE IN UBUD


Personal Style Blog: The Bali Diaries, What I Wore in Ubud with Missguided.
Personal Style Blog: The Bali Diaries, What I Wore in Ubud with Missguided.
Personal Style Blog: The Bali Diaries, What I Wore in Ubud with Missguided.
Personal Style Blog: The Bali Diaries, What I Wore in Ubud with Missguided.
Personal Style Blog: The Bali Diaries, What I Wore in Ubud with Missguided.
Personal Style Blog: The Bali Diaries, What I Wore in Ubud with Missguided.
Crop Top: Missguided. Bra: Triangl Underwear. Denim Shorts: Levi's Vintage (similar here and here). Sandals: EMU Australia. Sunglasses: Topshop. Belt: Vintage. Earrings: Chelsea Doll.
I packed light for my 3 week trip to Bali and anyone who knows me will know that's no easy feat - I'm the girl who takes an entire suitcase of shit to her friends house to stay for the weekend.

But guys, you just don't need much in Bali. I took one dress, two pairs of shorts, three tops and two pairs of flip-flops.

The idea was that I'd buy some more clothes over there, and as Laura had told me: 'Megs, all the stuff over here is so you' - it made sense not to pack too heavy.

The combination of crop tops and shorts is pretty much all I wore whilst I was away. And if there's one thing I quickly realised about the general personal style of others upon arriving in Bali? Casual was the only way. There's no 'dressing up' there. Because honestly? It's just too darn hot. Comfort was definitely key.

Missguided have such a huge range of crop tops that cost next to nothing, so stocking up on a few for this trip made styling outfits easy. I mean, you want to make minimal effort when you're boiling hot, right? And they take up next to no space in your luggage, which makes them quite the holiday staple if you ask me.

Flip flops/Sandals are also a must - most people remove their shoes before entering any shops, cafe's restaurants etc. - it's the polite thing to do. So you don't want to be faffing about with any fancy pants shoes that will take you an age to get on and off.

Basically?

Bali Style = Super Simple.

Shop the look here:


Photos snapped by Laura Jane Williams
Photos edited by Alexandra Cameron Photography


Monday, 13 April 2015

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING FOR A SMEAR TEST


A lifestyle blog about the importance of going for a smear test and how facing your fears could save your life
image source
I turned 25 in July 2014 and received my letter from the NHS advising me I'd need to go for my first smear test as an early birthday present. I ignored it.

Not on purpose as such, just, I put it to the back of my mind and subsequently forgot about it for a good 6 months.

January 2015 rolled around, Daniel and I had been separated for quite a while and I wanted to get myself checked out, you know, down there. Then I remembered: 'Shit Megs, you didn't ever go for that smear'. So I booked them both in for the same week.

The thought of the smear test didn't bother me too much. I'd been poked and prodded down there over the years and I knew it would be over in a flash.

And ladies, seriously, it'll take you longer to whip your knickers off than it will for them to actually carry out the procedure. For the sake of 30 seconds of hating your life and screaming inside 'OH MY GOD STOP LOOKING AT MY VAGINA, IT'S MINE OKAY?' it's totally worth it. It didn't hurt at all and those nurses see so many vagina's, it's really no biggie.

Within two weeks I'd received my results. The news wasn't perfect.

I had HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), which is transferred via sexual intercourse, but isn't a STI (confusing) - most women are infected with it at some point in their lives and it'll usually clear up on it's own; there are over 100 types, but mostly there will be no symptoms. Basically it's nothing to worry about - it's like the flu for your vagina (but way less gross).
I also had medium-grade dyskaryosis, i.e. slight changes to the cells on my cervix - yay. Like with HPV, more often than not they will return to normal by themselves, but sometimes, they'll develop and can eventually end up leading to cancer.
Because I had both HPV and Dyskaryosis it meant I had to go to the hospital to have a biopsy, so they could test these pesky cells and make sure that there wasn't anything more sinister going on down there.

This experience was slightly more invasive, but I got to sit on a massive chair with leg stirrups, so: silver linings.
The nurses were incredible. One was holding my hand whilst the specialist talked me through exactly what was going to happen. She explained that the way the NHS word the letters were a bit naff (I think she meant to say totally shit) and that there really was nothing to be worried about at all. Because I was worried, actually. They'd told me I had two things wrong with me as if it was as casual as having milk with coffee. The letters themselves didn't really explain what all these long words meant and were super clinical, so I had to google everything, meaning I was anxious to say the least. But the consultant was absolutely brilliant and made me feel at ease - she was factual, but kind.

She used a teeny tiny camera to take a look at my cervix in more detail, told me to cough so she could nip off a cell or two to send off for testing and that was it. Done.
I felt a bit faint afterwards with a slight tummy ache, they gave me an industrial pad the size of a nappy (y'know to stop any messes after the biopsy) made me stay with them until the colour returned to my cheeks and sent me on my way. Apart from feeling a bit tender, it was nothing, really.

When I got back from Bali I had a letter waiting in my room. It told me that I had Grade 3 CIN (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia) which in a nutshell, is when there are changes to the surface cells of the cervix. It's not cancer, but can increase the risk of it developing. Like with HPV and Dyskaryosis, there are no symptoms, you can still continue to have sex and live a normal lifestyle (hence the real importance of smear tests, you'd never know without them).

In total, there are 3 grades of CIN, which I've nabbed off the Macmillan website for your reference :-)
  1. CIN 1 – this is when one-third of the thickness of the surface layer of the cervix is affected.
  2. CIN 2 – this is when two-thirds of the thickness of the surface layer of the cervix is affected.
  3. CIN 3 – this is when the full thickness of the surface layer of the cervix is affected.
I have a hospital appointment booked in next week, where they'll perform a little operation on my cervix through local anesthetic called Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), which uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to cut out the abnormal tissue. Yeah, it all sounds a bit scary doesn't it?

Scary, but SO important.

The procedure involves the doctor spraying an iodine solution over my cervix, to highlight the cells and then using LEEP to remove the CIN cells. I know it wont be the best experience I've ever had, I'll feel a bit rough and sorry for myself/cervix afterwards - but it's a small, teeny, tiny price to pay for the risk of what could happen if I didn't go at all.

This little operation could be potentially saving my life.

Once it's done I'll have to go back every 6 months for a repeat smear, just to make sure everything is okay.

So the real point of me getting up-close and personal today? Is to say that if you received your letter and thought 'meh, maybe I'll give that a miss' - Please don't.

Please go.

Look after yourself and don't let the fear of feeling a bit self conscious about your private bits put you off saving your body some serious health issues.

It's more than worth it.

YOU are more than worth it.

Be brave.
Oh and just as an FYI, I don't have any STI's, either. YAY.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Top Tips: Flying Alone for the First Time

**This post was composed at the airport, before I flew to Bali!
Top Tips: Travel blogger talks about flying alone for the first time.
So the thing is, when you're an anxious person doing anything for the first time can be really quite challenging.

I wrote about biting the bullet and pushing myself to say yes more, which means today, I fly to Bali to meet Laura. On my own.

Some people really love to fly. Some people really love airports. Some people really love doing things alone.

I don't love any of those things. Sure, I want to see Laura, go to Bali, have a holiday etc. But I've always been super reliant on other people - I've never flown on my own, let alone a long haul flight halfway across the world. And so this trip? Well it's really out of my comfort zone.

But.

Here I am, at the airport. Checked-in. Waiting for my flight in the exclusive airport lounge (obviously), eating all the food and waiting for my Clarins facial (Uh-huh, I'm that girl). And guess what? I'm alive.

I knew this would be really difficult for me. That my anxiety would take over and have me up all night worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong. And the logical part of my brain obviously knew it would all be fine.

That being said, I made sure I put myself first with this trip, and today I wanted to share a few travel tips with you to hopefully make the experience of flying alone for the first time, as stress free as possible.
I mean I'm no expert, but if you struggle with this kind of stuff like I do, it might help some. And if not? I can read this back and have a big smile on my face. Because: Bali.

Top Tips | Flying Alone for the First Time:

  1. TAKE CARE OF TRANSPORT - It takes 2 hours on a good day to get to Heathrow Airport from where I live. I decided I'd drive there (trains stress me out and I'd rather do everything on my own time) and make use of the parking facilities near the airport. When I went to book in with Purple Parking, I noticed that they offered an additional chauffeur service wherein you simply roll up to the departures gate, a driver meets you there, takes your keys and parks your car for you. At an extra cost of £5 it wasn't something I was going to turn down. I popped my keys in his hands, skipped across the road and was at my check-in gate. Simples. (They collect you on the way home, too).
  2. TREAT YOURSELF - My friend at work told me about the exclusive lounges they have at airports. Who knew? For £25 I could get access to high-speed wifi, all the food I could possibly eat and any drink I fancied oh, and of course, facials and massages. Urm, sorry what? If that isn't a deal and a half I don't know what is. Of course, it's not a necessity by any means. But when you'd considered wearing a nappy because you were so scared of this journey, being safe in the knowledge that you've got some comforts to look forward to isn't the worst decision you could make right? Right.
  3. KNOW THE PROCEDURE - I know this sounds a bit silly, but just knowing what to expect when you get to security helps a tonne. So before you leave the house, make a mental note of the important stuff you need to remember: you'll need to whip your shoes off (probs best to leave the slinky stilettos at home ladies), take your electronic goods like laptop and camera out of your hand luggage, remove anything that's metal and have your passport and boarding pass at the ready. Having this down means you'll be feeling more confident when you arrive and it's way less likely any nasty anxiety attacks will creep up on you.
  4. BE FRIENDLY - When I was telling Laura how nervous I felt about flying alone one of the first things she said to me was: 'BE KIND, MEGS. TO EVERYONE'. And she was right. I wore a smile everywhere I went, struck up conversations with the Clarins therapist and befriended the air hostesses by accepting everything they offered, thanking them and meaning it each time. It just meant I didn't have to feel guilty asking for something if I needed it and that subsequently, the people around me were happier too :-)
  5. THINK ABOUT YOUR TOILETRIES - On a long haul flight (depending on who you fly with, of course) they'll supply you with a little toothbrush, paste, socks, a blanket, pillows and eye mask. Check with your airline what's provided so you don't double up and waste valuable hand luggage space. Do pack yourself a mini deodorant, face wipes, a spare pair of panties, (who knows how long you'll be in them) and a hydrating face mask/moisturiser/serum to freshen up before you land...long haul flights make you stink/dehydrated. Fact.
  6.  HAVE AN ARRIVAL PLAN - The last thing you want is to be panicking about what you're going to do when you get off the plane at the other end. Whatever your trip entails, book in to have someone meet you at arrivals. Whether that's your friend (Hi, Laura!), or booking a taxi driver to meet you with your name on a sign. That way, when you walk through the exit you'll have a sense of familiarity, which can't be a bad thing.
It's safe to say leaving for the airport that morning was the most anxious I've felt in a long time. But I'm proof that flying alone doesn't have to be a stressful ordeal - I've made it out the other side to finish off this post after all (Obv didn't want to post it before in case I didn't survive the journey home ;-))

With a bit of forward planning, common sense and some self-belief you'll be good to go. And for the record, it's way more fun making that journey on your own than it is with other people. Totally stress free and relaxing. It's left me feeling totally chuffed with myself and so utterly liberated that I actually can't wait to do it again!

Did these tips help at all? I'd love to hear from you guys on what helps you, too - let me know in the comments below.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for all the Bali posts coming up!


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair - Cambridge

Shopping vintage = my favourite thing.

I'm a big believer in not buying clothing for the brand name and instead? Collecting pieces that make me feel great, whatever the cost.

My wardrobe is a mix of high-street and vintage. For me, pairing the two together breathes more life in to my outfits, tells a story and gives modern items a classy twist. 

So when Alex messaged me about heading to a Vintage Fair in Cambridge I let out a little squeal of excitement. An afternoon with one of my favourite ladies and hand-picked vintage goodness? Of course I was all-in.

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair travels all over the UK and winds up in Cambridge once a year. Held at the Guildhall the setting is beautiful, flooded with light from the large, stained glass windows the two rooms are filled to the brim with vintage treasures.

Before any shopping could commence Alex and I had one thing on our mind... First rule of the Vintage Fair club? Their must be home-made cake and tea. 
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
It opened at 10am so we made sure we got there for 10.30, giving us time to rummage through all the goodies before the place got too crowded come lunch time. 
Top tip when shopping at fairs: Bring cash and arrive early to grab your favourites - but make sure you come back in the middle of the afternoon. Often the stalls owners will save their best pieces for the middle of the day, when the initial stock they wanted to get shot of has been bagged and tagged and the fair is at it's busiest.
Judy's Fair promises to save you up to 75% of what you'd end up paying for Vintage on the high-street, so it's definitely worth making the trip and picking up some bargains.

From the elegant 20's style to floral 50's, 80's slogan shirts and tie-dye 60's it ticks everyone's fashion boxes and caters for both the ladies and the fellas (although I have to admit, there was definitely more for us than there was for the men). 
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger reviews Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Cambridge
I picked up a gorgeous leather mini-skirt for £20, a paisley print silk blouse for £12 and a pair of dungarees that are quite possibly cut to the best style I've ever witnessed for just £25.

The changing rooms were set at the back of the hall and were communal - so all us ladies were stripping down to our panties and trying on things together. It was quite nice, having strangers opinions on what you were trying on and seeing how other people styled their picks.

It was pretty much the perfect Sunday. Hanging out with one of my best friends, eating cake, shopping my idea of fashion heaven and picking up some workable vintage pieces to mix in to my existing wardrobe.

If you're new to shopping vintage this is the perfect way to introduce you to it, at an affordable price. The stall owners are all super helpful and on hand to offer tips if you're perhaps unsure on what might look good with what - these guys know their stuff, so you don't have to be scared to ask!

If you fancy checking out the nearest affordable vintage fair to you, all the details are on Judy's website here - which includes all the dates for upcoming fairs and festivals.

YOU'RE WELCOME!


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