Sunday, 30 August 2015

Doubling Denim

The DUFF tank top * | similar skirt here | Dunnes denim jacket | Tesco boots as always
Currently playing : Tangerine | Bedroom Eyes

First and foremost, thank you so so so much for the amazing, positive feedback to Friday evening's post ! Between the comments telling me that you had learned something from it and had previously never heard of SPD and the kind messages from friends, I was on the brink of tearing up reading all the feedback. Thank you so much, it means a lot. If you missed the post you can catch up here

Onto today's content, I have never worn double denim before and decided to give the trend a go after seeing so many photos of stylish Internet people pulling off the traditionally dodgy look ! Double denim was, of course, a huge deal in the 80's and then there was Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake at the 2001 VMAs so it is certainly not a new trend, although I do think that the whole revival of 90's style has increased it's popularity all over again ! I really don't think that there's a way to wear double denim without looking even slightly corny so I'm not too fussed by this outfit not looking very polished or anything. I haven't worn my denim jacket all summer as I find it changes the entire look of my outfits, and not always in a good way, but I really want to attempt one of those patchwork jacket DIYs on it at some stage ! My skirt isn't actually denim, it just has the look of it off the colours, and the boxy, A-line fit goes well with a lot of my wardrobe. 

School starts Friday and I'm trying to be chirpy,

Grace x

Friday, 28 August 2015

Not Everyone's Brain is Wired the Same

My name is Grace and I have a hidden disability. 

People's ignorance rarely bothers me me, but it never fails to do so when it comes to hidden disabilities. The past year or so has really disappointed me as I've seen how there is still a huge lack of empathy and understanding and sometimes just pure disrespect for hidden disabilities. Common misconceptions include

“But she looks normal”       “She can help it though”        “You wouldn’t know when you look at him”      “It’s not a real disability though”     “It’s not an excuse for his behaviour”     “It can’t affect her that much”    “It isn't serious or anything though so it’s okay”   “Can’t she just try a bit harder ?”   “That’s just laziness”   “That’s only another excuse” 

Not all disabilities are visible and that doesn't make them any less real. 

So let's begin again. 

Hello ! My name is Grace, I am sixteen years old and Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder give me hell on a daily basis. Dyspraxia - or Developmental Coordination Disorder - affects one in thirty people and is why I am extremely disorganised and cannot ride a bike. Sensory Processing Disorder affects people with Asperger's, Autism and ADHD but also people who do not have an ASD. This is why I find social situations stressful and feel sick when wearing a pair of jeans. As I've progressed into my teenage years, Sensory Processing Disorder - let’s shorten it to SPD - affects me way more than Dyspraxia.

Today I'm focusing on how a hidden disorder like SPD can affect someone like me socially. I'm really hoping that anyone who reads this post can learn something from it - whether that is the characteristics of someone with sensory issues, how to be there for a friend with sensory issues or if you have any of these difficulties yourself and don't know how to explain to friends ! This is going to an extremely long post, but I am going to break up the different sections with pictures.

My therapist asked me the other day about how I feel having that 'label' (i.e SPD and Dyspraxia) and I said that I didn't mind as long as it didn't define me, because it is part of me but not all of me. As long as a teacher at school just keeps my difficulties in mind when it comes to homework and tests without giving me too many allowances, and my peers remember that I don't have the same level of social skills as them without them treating me too nice all of a sudden, just no. So as long as that doesn't happen we're all good. Besides, I'd rather have a label of dyspraxic or the girl with sensory issues than a label of bitch, weirdo, retard, lazel, spaz, slow or freak.

My nervous level is never at zero, it is always building up. When something occurs that makes a person without SPD feel anxious or upset, their nerves may go up to two but by the time another unpleasant event takes place, it will be back down at zero. But someone with SPD is never at zero so my nerves keep going up and up until I have what I like to refer to as a meltdown - the proper term for it though is a sensory overload and it could be likened to a child's tantrum on a larger scale. I scream and shout repeatedly, uncontrollably crying and I'm locked in a state of mind that I cannot find a way out of. I always feel awful afterwards since no matter how scary it is for me, it's even scarier for my family to watch as I am unpredictable and can never remember what happened.

It also doesn't help when you're in your adolescent years and your hormones are going ape anyway ! Something said to me the other day - again, by my therapist - was that it can be very frustrating when your body doesn't work the way it's supposed to. And that is my whole fury and annoyance with all my issues described in a sentence.

With SPD you either stand too close to someone or you flinch when they stand near you. You either eat nothing but one particular food - for example bread - or you were obsessed with bread a week ago, and now you cannot stand it. You either find pleasure in taking risks or you fear and avoid anything uncertain. You either come across as acting too enthusiastic and fake or withdrawn and rude. There's only ever been black or white, grey is nonexistent. I really want to focus on how much things like SPD can affect a person, socially. As an adolescent all you want is to be understood and accepted by peers and that can be so difficult. It's not just that we're 'socially awkward', we genuinely do not understand how to behave around others, how to engage in conversation, what is acceptable and what is not. I really want to focus on explaining how someone with SPD can be affected socially.  Every person with SPD is different, no two are the same but similar to how I described the grey earlier, there are two very different ways that a person with SPD can behave and there is no between. 

Some on the hypo-sensitive side of things have no limits since they simply have no understanding of them and are not aware of or sensitive to their surrounding. They can crave touch so they may stand too close to a person or feel the need to constantly be touching something, anything ! They can also talk for what feel likes years without realising that others may want to give their own input into the conversation and they are often considered a natural leader but also quite 'controlling'. They can enjoy being the centre of attention and wish to have control over everyone around them. The trait of impulsiveness shines through as their words and actions can be unpredictable and result in inappropriateness and argument provoking. Lashing out - whether verbally or physically - isn't rare which gives some a bad name with their peers. 

Some are on the hyper-sensitive side. They back away from any form of touch such as hugs - even from family. They usually find crowds and large groups quite stressful, especially when company act loud and boisterous which can end in them keeping their distance from the centre of events and preferring to observe. They really don't know how to handle social situations, so panic attacks and meltdowns before, during or after these kind of occasions are common. Social anxiety is kind of the free gift you really don't want added on to your original gift of SPD. This can cause them to have meltdowns, panic attacks and/or outbursts of anger either before, during or after social occasions.  They can sometimes be considered rude and unfriendly for their withdrawnness, especially when they sit in silence because of the difficulty of making conversation and how quickly they run out of things to say.

I'm on the hypersensitive end of things, so I'll talk more about that end from my personal experiences. For example, at the beginning of 2015 I really threw myself into talking to people more and going out, whether it was to the school's Strictly show or to the beach. As much as I got to know loads of amazing people and tried new things, it was a bad idea to force myself so much out of my comfort zone. Before I'd go out my anxiety would take shape in form of thinking I looked fat, my face was huge, my legs were too chubby so I'd have an entire panic attack and have to redo my makeup and change outfits. When I'd be there I couldn't handle large groups or negative scenarios so I'd either act like a complete bitch and then end up having to run off to have a meltdown. I also eat a lot in social situations to distract myself and in the past I have self-harmed. Then when I'd get home I'd overthink everything I did and question whether people liked me and then I would cry myself to sleep. Since then my summer has been hell and like I mentioned at the beginning, the thoughts of messaging people on Facebook or going into town makes me really upset, nervous and angry and I'm in constant physical and mental pain. I am pretty sure people on the hyposensitve end also experience these kind of things, except it can be even worse for them since they are more inclined to be loud, unpredictable and offensive and people are even less understanding and the person with the sensory issues just can't understand what they have done wrong.

But whilst the two ends of the scale differentiate, we still all share a lot in common. Eye contact is a foreign language - like how do you do it without being creepy - and so is sarcasm, which is ironic for me since I confuse most non-SPD people with my sarcastic wit. We sometimes find ourselves in awkward situations over not understanding the difference between a joke and an insult, a weakness that can be taken advantage of. We can also be quick to judge others, and in return a lot of people can be very quick to judge us anyway ! People with SPD  are very impulsive which is why we often are too honest, don't think through our next move and blurt out the wrong thing. We also are more inclined to go along with everyone else's opinions of people and behaviour if we think that it will automatically make us more well liked and blended in. We have no filter so it really is no surprise when one begins speaking of the ins and outs of childbirth during lunchtime when everyone is devouring their chicken rolls. Mix that with how we never know how to deal with bad news, important questions or drama and you can see why we often have to seek help from others with responding to these kind of scenarios. Our lack of social awareness and skills can make us seem very naive so we're easy to fool and to make fun of without us even realising it. People with SPD also form obsessions so one may bore everyone to death by speaking for long periods of time of only one topic that fascinates them.

Personally, I have realised a lot lately that I feel very withdrawn from people. As if I can't feel close to them like others can. I don't feel as deep a connection with family as I should. I am forever completely unaware of my friendship or closeness to others. Which is why I avoid a lot of contact with people as I'm overly conscious of my ability to be all over people like a rash. I find it difficult to relate to people and up until this year, I felt what I would describe as detatched. I suppose I won't know until I'm older whether this is part of having sensory issues or part of being sixteen. A lot of people have worse issues than me and can find it difficult to feel empathy for others or recognise emotions, such as when someone feels sad or wants someone to talk to and again are unaware of how people see them.

The thing is that all these characteristics are visible and everyone sees them. I know this because too often people make it their business to point them out and make sure everyone else sees how different all these traits are. But the reason for this behaviour is not visible and people have a problem understanding and accepting this. And I've met a lot of people who understand these difficulties and try their best to show empathy and be there for that person. I've met a lot who have still never heard of SPD, yet they still make an effort to treat those like everyone else. But I've also met a lot of people who are naive to the fact that there is a reason why some act this way. I've met a lot who are fully aware of these issues and who suffer, yet they only choose to understand when it suits their own needs. 

I do appreciate how difficult it is to understand. Up until a year ago I found it so difficult to understand and make allowances for the behaviour of those who are hypo-sensitive so I can't imagine how frustrating it must initially be for someone who doesn't have any issues similar to SPD. Some days I feel like nobody ever understands and I don't want anyone to. But I still become very angered by the lack of empathy and understanding. You wouldn't dare become aware of a hidden disability, such as deafness, and then still whine about how the kid is being so rude by not listening to you. So why do so many people continue to dismiss the diagnosis of people with Asperger's, Autism, SPD and ADD. 

We don't look for pity, excessive allowances for our behaviour or to be treated differently from anyone else. All we ask for is for ourselves - along with our quirks - to be accepted and understood. You may ask why I emphasise so much on being understood and what will change if we're understood more ? Well, understanding doesn't wipe away our problems but it makes life a heck of a lot easier for both ourselves and those around us. It can also put your mind at ease that you are not hurting this person in anyway and that they have one more acquaintance rather than one more enemy. Without acceptance, understanding and tolerance, people are more likely to be bullied because of their issues.

If you do have sensory issues it is definitely important to let the people who you are constantly around know. It is so so much easier for you and that person, it can make things a lot easier and more comfortable and it is just beneficial for both parties in the long run, plus you will will both learn a few things from each other. I am crap at explaining things or putting the correct words into sentences so sometimes, when becoming close to a new friend or group of friends or when you have a new teacher or boss, the easiest thing to do is to print out a list of the 'characteristics', write them a letter or give them a link to a website where they can find out more information. For people I don't know so well or less close family members, I just explain everything briefly and only really bring it up unless the topic arises in conversation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having any kind of disorder or disability and you should never feel too embarrassed of it to tell someone. If somebody reacts negatively to finding out about your difficulties, it's their problem that they cannot be supportive, not yours.

 Also, when you are having difficulties understanding sarcasm or a slang term in a conversation, there is nothing wrong with politely asking anyone else in the conversation about it ! Again, you shouldn't feel embarrassed about having a lack of social skills or not wanting to participate in a conversation. If you need help with understanding how to act in certain situations, how to understand sarcasm, body language and so on, don't feel afraid to ask a family member or friend to help you brush up on your social skills. Something that's advised for people with Asperger's and Autism who don't have a great grasp of understanding people's emotions, etc. is watching comedy ! And it seriously is the best way ever to improve your social skills.  I put my improvement of social skills down to watching so much comedy over the years. I've also heard that Laurel and Hardy is supposed to be brilliant for starting off with understanding other people. Back on topic, if there's a day when you don't want to talk to anyone and just want to be alone, all you have to do is politely tell someone exactly that and it's up to them to understand. Finally, it's frustrating when you basically say everything that comes to your mind, how you may have upset someone or when you cannot remember what you said during a meltdown. But it's always important to ask 'have I done something that upset you', learn from your mistakes and apologise.

If you are wondering how to behave around or treat someone with sensory issues who doesn't have great social skills, it is not complicated at all, I promise ! Just be as friendly as you are to anyone else, don't treat them any better or worse than you would treat someone without those difficulties. Let conversation flow as usual, treat them like a normal person ! Although a lot of us can have a lack of social skills and can be quite shy, that doesn't mean we don't like interacting with other people - I love chatting to people, for pete's sake ! It just means that we mightn't enjoy chatting for as long as others do and we may not be able to carry on a conversation for too long either. And although some of us can act extremely enthusiastic or loudly without thought, we don't mean to act as if we're on some drug or freak you out !

If you have a friend or relative with sensory issues,  I think the most important thing you can do is understand and let them know that you are there for them.  As a friend, you're not supposed to be responsible for or in charge of them, but it is important to look out for them. There will be a lot of times where they may reject invites to a day out, a sleepover or a party, but it can be nice to still let them know when there are social occasions occurring and encourage them to come along - although I'd advise not confusing encouraging with forcing. Same goes for family, if your sibling, child or relative doesn't enjoy going out the whole time or attending occasions - particularly large family events - please give them the choice of whether to go or not, when possible. Nobody likes to be forced to do something they're uncomfortable with and when it comes to someone with sensory issues, you are welcoming an outburst.

 If your friend or relative gets quite anxious in social situations and finds it hard to carry conversations, being a person who can sometimes act as a 'wingman', as in getting them out of drawn out conversations or uncomfortable situations, can be extremely helpful. If they appear to look increasingly upset, frustrated or nervous, ask them if they are okay and whether they would like to find some air, take a trip to the bathroom or go for a walk somewhere quieter. As cliche as it sounds, having a code action or word for 'I need to get out of here' or 'are you okay' could be helpful too. I find it extremely difficult to cope with pressurising demands, drama and uncomfortable or confrontational conversations - especially when online. A lot of the time my mam helps me with responding in stressful online interaction and when I don't want to ask my mam, I have a friend who is so so helpful when it comes to crisises. As I always say 'you have more experience than me in this. Well everyone does actually' ! Side note for people with sensory issues : if you need help with responding to a message that you don't know how to deal with, please ask for help ! My worst decisions have been made when I tried to deal with an uncomfortable or pressuring situation online.

When it comes to having a friend or relative with these kind of issues, communication and understanding from both sides is vital. You also need to let them know what you are or are not comfortable with, since people with sensory issues are often unaware of when they've crossed the line when it comes to comfort zones, inappropriate jokes, hurting someone's feelings, loudness, secrets and personal space. During a meltdown we can often say things that we don't even remember saying and I also feel that it is extremely important to take someone aside and politely recite what they have said and how or why it may have hurt your's or/and someone else's feelings. Remember not to do in front of others and large crowds. Having a friend or family relative with any of these difficulties can be frustrating, difficult and sometimes a bit of a challenge. I can assure you though that that person will always be forever grateful for your friendship, understanding, patience and any second chances that you have ever given them.

When anyone, but especially someone with these difficulties, feels understood and accepted it can turn their life around. Rather than becoming completely uninterested in and fearful of school, being unable to concentrate in classes, avoiding social interaction and becoming introverted and often depressed, a person can attend school with a peaceful mind, there is more space in their mind to concentrate, they can work on their social skills and find it easier to confide in people. For an action that doesn't cost a penny, so much change can come out of acceptance and understanding. It is always worthwhile to remember the saying “you never know what goes on behind closed doors” and to remember that all human beings have 3D personalities that are complex and not flat. What you see is not always what you get !

I really hope that you learned at least a thing or two from this post and it might change your views on the way hidden disabilities/disorders can affect people. If you have any questions about the topics discussed in this post, feel free to comment on this post, tweet me or send me an email !

Thank you mam for proofreading this post and always understanding and thank you for reading this post !

Grace x

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

On Approaching The End of August

TK Maxx leather jacket | similar top here | New Look denim shorts | Penneys tights | Tesco boots

Today's post was supposed to be just this month's playlist but these outfit photos were taken this day two weeks ago and I never uploaded them since I just didn't feel very comfortable with them so they're making a little appearance here this evening ! Not only did I spend half that day pulling down that top - it's actually cropped - and standing hunched over since I was conscious of my midriff showing, for some reason, but it also ended up being sweltering hot so here I was in a tight, long-sleeved top, a heavy jacket, denim shorts, heavy boots and tights ! Wow, go me. Wearing this outfit was still an achievement though. If you know me, there's a chance that you'll be aware of how nauseous I feel when wearing clingy or heavy clothing so I was thrilled that I survived half the day in this outfit ! 

I really love this outfit as it's a perfect mixture of casual and chic or girly and grunge. The colours are quite neutral too so you could really add a pop of colour in anywhere and it would look good ! For example, adding in a colourful accessory, replacing the jacket with a bright cardigan or swapping the boots for high tops in a bold colour.  If it hadn't been so warm, this outfit would have been decent for a milder day when it wasn't cold enough to step into winter clothes, yet not warm enough to go around in light, summer clothes ! 

Listening to music this month was a little all over the place. I raved about Radio and Lost It To Trying in my post here about the amazing Paper Towns soundtrack so I think you've read enough of me being over-excited about the two songs for now ! I've been listening to a lot of music lately that are either from one of my favourite decades or sound similar to the music of that era. I know that I talk about the 70's a lot lately and I should probably leave it here now, but I really just have a huge  that culture of that decade. The music really reminds me of road trips and evening sunsets, I have no idea why. but it sound so summery and as if it's crackling through a bad radio so that's probably why ! Landslide by Fleetwood Mac has been calming me down whenever I'm having a bad day, I have been completely intrigued by the dark tonality mixed with a brighter tonality in Friends by Led Zeppelin. I would listen to practically anything that French Films release and their latest song You Are The Sun consists of a mixture of 70's and 90's vibes. Coming Down by Dum Dum Dolls has probably been my favourite song this month. It is such a gorgeous song, sounds very similar to 90's grunge, just like all of their music and again, it's one of the songs that has been helping me feel more relaxed. If I am right, Drive is the latest song released by the amazing Halsey and I discovered it at 5am in the morning the day after it came out ! Halsey's voice is so unique and tranquil, I cannot listen to enough of her music at the moment ! 

I'd love to hear in the comments what you think of outfits that are neither dressy nor too casual and also, what music you have been listening to this month ! Thank you so much as always for the feedback I receive on posts, it means a ton and I always love replying to comments. Ending this post on an even happier note, I found out yesterday that Dainty Sprinkles has made the longlist of the category 'Best Youth Blog' in the Blog Awards Ireland ! Congratulations to anyone who's blog was nominated and even if your blog wasn't nominated, we must remember that there are so many different meanings of 'success' and one is writing online, because that take a vast amount of creativity and guts !

Grace x 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Beauty Products : The New Back to School Essentials

This morning, I read an article on about Dunnes Stores' latest offers on their back to school essentials and curiosity led me into two stores - my local store and a store in a nearby area. Here, I found various half price back to school offers on beauty products ! Products such as deodorant and sanitary pads and others such as hair dye and false tan. Funnily enough, I had never really thought of false tan being on the same level of importance as pens and copies when it came to the beginning of a new academic year so after an afternoon of getting my head around the idea, here are five very obvious reasons why you need to include false tan in your 2015 back to school essentials !

1. The school got a new paint job so why not you too ! Okay, credit for that quote goes to my very intelligent brother, Evan. But it's a new year, new start, a new you ! Why should you have to be the same you as you were three months ago ? Be daring and go for an entirely new look, getting your new term off to the best start possible ! 

2. Standing out from the crowd is so much better than blending in ! You should never feel as if you must fade into the white walls, white skies and white ceilings that surround you; why must you camouflage yourself ? Our individuality is oppressed by the school uniforms that force ourselves to conform so false tanning is a fun, bright way to avoid being a sheep in a herd of students !

3. You need a product with a wide range of uses ! Any essential that is worth it's price tag should have a number of uses rather than one. So, not only is false tan half price but it can also be used for a number of different purposes ! There's the obvious purposes such as giving your legs a colour that could only be gained on a holiday abroad and concealing veins and other so-called 'imperfections'. But you may not have thought of these life hacks that could make your year a heck of a lot easier - use your bottle of false tan for highlighting notes, an emergency item in your art pack when you forget your orange acrylic paint or even to unveil your hidden DIY guru by giving your locker an entire new paint job ! Besides, we've already mentioned the fact that the school walls and door were repainted so why not your locker too ?

4. It keeps your photographic memories 'on fleek' ! Not only is it important to look tip-top perfect in order to represent your school in a positive light, but also to represent yourself and your peers in a positive light. Extremely pasty skin tones can wash you out in photographs, ruining the excellent 5 megapixels selfie quality that your phone offers. Nobody wants a bad quality Snapchat story - even if it only lasts twenty four hours - and you definitely do not want to be washed out or else nobody will know that you were one of the squad having the bants in Maths so for the sake of your social status and future memories, being visible in photos is definitely vital. 

5. Retail is saying it's an essential so of course, it must be an essential ! Y'know, guys, if ye wan at the end of your locker block is saying that applying false tan is an essential part of your morning routine and that school socks look much better rolled down to the ankles, you sort of listen, but not too much because who says she is a fashion expert to give advice ? But when a huge magazine or the store where buy all your beauty products give the same advice, you know that it is legit ! I mean, what if every girl in my class buys the false tan because of the offer and wears it on the first day because it is obviously meant for back to school and I'm the only one with legs paler than the white sheets of paper in my copybook ? That can't happen ! Besides, false tan is an essential part of looking fashionable at school ! 

So, if you have not caught onto my sense of humour yet, it's probably important that I mention here that the points above are sarcasm. False tan is most definitely not an essential for school. In fact, false tan is practically banned in most schools !  I have nothing against those who enjoy wearing it, but is it really wise of large supermarkets such as Dunnes Stores to encourage beauty standards, especially when it's being marketed at those returning to school i.e young girls ?  I have a bit of a more 'serious' post coming towards the end of the week which is why I wanted I didn't want to go on a full on rant about this today so instead I thought I'd use satire to make a point of why this whole marketing is so wrong and ridiculous. 

*** since I wrote this post, Dunnes Stores have tweeted this, saying that the promotion was error and will be removed so I guess that we can all sleep in peace tonight, knowing that we will not need false tan for the new school term. I'm still publishing this post though, since it is the not the first time that a store has pulled a stunt like this and not all of them have been 'errors' nor have they been removed. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments on the subject of marketing beauty products as 'back to school essentials', 

Grace x 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Curve and Suede

New Look cami top and dress | Penneys cardigan | Tesco boots | L-R : Claire's // Penneys // Claire's // health shop bracelets

This outfit is my go to ensemble when it comes to occasions that are not formal, yet I want to dress up more than usual for. Example, the blogger meetup in July. Like almost every time that I wear this outfit, I was in a rush which meant that I did not have enough time to take out mam's SLR and find a prettier location around the garden which is a real pity since it was golden hour.

Anyway, I'm still so surprised that I have not fallen out with this dress yet ! It's kind of 'bodycon' shaped dress from the kids section in New Look - having the wide variety of both this and the adult section is fabulous - that is supposed to be midi length, although it seems that I must have grown somehow in height since it has ended up knee length being over the past month or so ! My spine is curved which means that standing straight is alien for me and I've one Kim Kardashian hip which is becoming larger and more noticeable and one twelve year old boy hip so I've always thought that tighter clothing wouldn't suit me but funnily enough, I was proven wrong ! A lot of sites recommend wearing loose fitting tops to hide the curve and I've found that teaming up full length, loose cami tops with skirts and shorts actually look great and I feel so much more comfortable in them ! I honestly do not know why I was ever afraid of the concept before so ten out of ten recommend for anyone with a curved spine who is self conscious of it.

70's fashion is all the range for autumn and winter this year, it is literally everywhere I turn and I love it ! Suede, mad coloured knee high socks and tights, fringe, denim, ribbed tops; colours such as mustard, dark orange, burgundy, forest green, grey, vibrant blue, grey tones. The 70's was really the first decade of fashion that I was mad about and aspects of the trend always find a way into my wardrobe ! This suede top is one of my favourite pieces that I own and I've come to the conclusion that I am just going to have to find a way to incorporate it into my outfits of the winter months - it  goes with everything !

To be quite honest with you, I'm not very happy with the photos I took for this post, although the text has made up for it so it's all good now ! Last night was really just a continuous buzz of online positivity and inspiration. First I read Róisín's post on what and who inspires her and it really brightened my day since I was one of the bloggers she mentioned ! Then Cliona put up a photo of blog planning on Instagram which inspired me to spend a little time thinking of blogpost ideas for the next while and when I will post them. I then watched Lohanthony's video on ruling the school like the confident, sassy child you are and I spent the whole time raising my arms in the air like "AMEN" and it really made me feel more hopeful and enthusiastic for the new school year. Finally, I watched Lindsey Hughes' most recent vlog which was basically the best twenty three minutes of my summer since her positive mindset always lifts my spirits and I listened to Halsey's new song 'Drive' which is so so gorgeous ! So at this point, I'm really looking forward to writing up posts over the next week !

Grace x

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Nostalgia of the Paper Towns Soundtrack

If you are one of the unfortunate sods who follow me on social media, you will know how much the book Paper Towns means to me and how much I adore the film adaption. A lot of people aren't fans of the film because of the many changes from the book, but if there's one thing that we can all agree on, it's that the movie soundtrack is absolutely amazing. Every decent teen movie has just as good a soundtrack to accompany the story, take Clueless, for example. I don't usually pay much attention to the soundtracks for films, even when I adore the movie itself, but this whole album appeals to me on another level altogether. The word to describe the whole appeal and vibe of it is nostalgia. A completely overused word on Tumblr, but is practically the making of this soundtrack ! It's something that captures the whole tone of the movie and all the 'firsts' and 'lasts' perfectly. It almost tells you the story just through the grouping of songs, which is kind of what a film soundtrack is supposed to do. The timbre of the songs not only causes you to feel nostalgic for the character's journey throughout the film, but also for your past, your present and your future. From my point of view, nostalgia is one of the reasons why people love music so much and why they find some songs relatable or why certain songs make them feel happy or sad. This album causes you to yearn. I also kind of feel like I'm on a roll every time I listen to it. Basically, whoever put together this selection of songs is a bloody genius and I wish I was him or her.

Warning that I will get overexcited when rambling on forever about my favourite songs during this post.

To The Top by Twin Shadows plays at the beginning of the trailer for the film and sweet holy cow, I have grown to adore Twin Shadows ! The vocals and music are so soft yet strong, if that is possible, and the whole sound and lyrics are so thrilling and fitting, especially for Q and Margo's relationship - promise I don't do air drums each time it plays. It often plays during the end credits and it almost set me off crying the first time. I have problems. Smile by Micky Ekko is the second song played in the trailer and since a snippet of it played in the trailer teaser clips, I have been in love with it ! It is such a fun and exhilarating song which really makes you feel as if you're on an adventure and actually living when you listen to it; sometimes even a happy kind of sad ! As much, I can match the whole song to scenes of the film, I can also match it perfectly to an afternoon in the weekend after the trailer was released and it all fits so perfectly ! Again, it fits in perfectly with the whole story line and the theme of taking more risks. It's also brilliant to hear a song that not only sounds uplifting, but the lyrics are quite uplifting too; in fact, that is probably one of the factors I love the most about the songs on the soundtrack.

Lorde's cover of Swingin Party was my favourite song back in October and Kindness's cover really  brought me ten months back ! Lorde's cover is beautifully dark and mysterious, as if time is pausing; quite appropriate for October. But Kindness's cover was still hauntingly mysterious, kind of pulling your stomach in and back to whatever time you're remembering yet less dark and more upbeat and laid back. I didn't initially enjoy the cover as much as Lorde's but as soon as began playing on the screen in the background of young Q and Margo on their bikes, I adored it and it really did add to the whole 'reminising on childhood' vibes. The next song in the film that captured me was Radio by Santigold. Santigold's voice is so mesmerising anyway that she makes the whole song so hypnotic, gelling in with the scene and now every time I listen to it, I feel like I'm Q going to his first proper party, hearing the beat at the start of the song on his way in. That sounds weird, but I swear, I'm not even joking ! Also, the pre-chorus grabs me every time.

The second time that I went to see the film, I recognised the songs a little more and so, Moments by De Lux has become one of my favourite songs since ! It's such a brilliant and fun song, perfect for the first scene of Q and the rest of the characters in the present. Like a lot of the songs on this soundtrack, it's a track that could be described as similar to music from the 80's and is just the perfect song to bop along to. The mix of Lost It To Trying by Son Lux is my second favourite song to Moments and is just so so gorgeous. The alluring beginning of it plays during the scene at downtown Orlando and whoever edited the quick shots of the buildings to the beat of the music deserves a bloody medal; the way it was filmed and put to the music along with the setting time of night just made that scene so interesting and even more beautiful because of the whole fast pace of the song, it is so suitable to approaching the end of a night or approaching the end of anything for that matter; the whole tone just makes you feel that everything is coming to an end in one big rush and it's amazing; definitely the type of sound that I adore ! Following on from this, No Drama Queen by Group Love is another amazing track, also reminding me a lot of songs that you'd hear in teen movie soundtracks from the 80's and 90's, such as Clueless, as I mentioned earlier ! Group Love's music is always fantastic and perfect for any upbeat summer day so I'm just here looking up the rest of their songs.

I adore the rest of the album, although the songs didn't really captivate me as much as the ones mentioned above ! My Type is brilliant song that sums up any party atmosphere and Great Summer is quite a chill song and perfect for a slowed down summer evening. Vance Joy's voice is of course, always whimsical and again, fits in with the themes of the film. Look Outside is a beautiful song too and frankly, I'd listen to any song that Nat and Alex Wolff sing ! Falling by HAIM has always been one of my favourite songs and another one that is great for the film; I also love Taxi Cab, because duh, Vampire Weekend are incredible and I don't have to go into detail about Runaway by Galantis - it's played so much on the radio that we all know how amazing it is - and this remix reminds me a lot of the remixes played at the carnival on the August bank holiday weekends ! I wasn't as mad on the rest of the songs but you may have a different opinion to me !

Although this post is quite similar to my monthly playlists, I have never actually written a piece on one particular artist or album and I probably haven't even got all my points across in this but nevertheless, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these songs below and whether or not you'd like to see more posts similar to this in future !

Grace x

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Sloppy Charcoal

Penneys tee | skirt similar here and here | Tesco boots | L-R : Health shop, Claire's, Pennyes bracelets - last one was a present from a friend 
Currently listening to : Moments | Lost It To Trying 

Sometimes, clothes just look better sloppy, as if no effort has been made, whatsoever and the wearer - this is actually a word, my day has been made - is just fed up. In this scenario, I was not fed up, although the other pointers apply. For example, my favourite blogger tee is boxy shaped anyway and therefore, just looks so much when I leave it not tucked in; it just doesn't come across to me as the type of t-shirt that is worn neatly ! The skirt can be worn to suit so many different styles and for some very odd reason, I discovered yesterday that it is made of a more synthetic material like nylon, known as a 'wet look' and not leather ! It's quite short so at the present, I am not very comfortable with wearing it high-wasted and not doing so gives it an entirely different look altogether; I feel as if I'm four years old again, dressing up for Halloween when I wear the skirt like this !

Last night, I went to see Paper Towns with my friend. This was my second time and opposed to last time where there were barely a dozen people, this time it was absolutely packed and we ended up sitting near the very front - there were even people sitting on the floor ! Of course, along with this, there were a few eejits who wouldn't shut up but besides that, the atmosphere was great, especially when the whole cinema went "oooooh" when *SPOILER ALERT* Ansel Elgort made a cameo !

Also, camera quality is both questionable and fascinating since I was using my digital in a rush and it's still on that funny setting but we'll embrace it anyway,

Grace x 

Thursday, 13 August 2015


I've been writing and procrastinating on this post for the past day and a half but it's just as well that I had left most of it today as I'm in the frame of mind to rave about everything that I am currently loving ! Also, the sky has been even more beautiful than usual over the past few evenings and you probably know about my obsession with sunsets by now so it doesn't come a surprise to anyone that my camera roll is still full of sunsets ! Anyway, on with the post ...

We were roaming through a hardware store the other day so when I saw the wall of colour samples, I went on a bit of a rampage. Compared to other times when I'd practically pick up anything that I thought looked pretty, this time I grabbed the specific colours which I felt represented certain things - the pastel goth tag on Tumblr, a sunburn metaphor, sunshine and orange juice, my favourite vampy lipsticks and the HB1 Vscocam filter used to edit the photos of a lot of my favourite Instagram accounts. When I was younger and discovered Paint on the computer, I was fascinated with all the different types of reds, blues, greens, etc. and now Tumblr aesthetics and the Internet in general has just fueled the fascination all over again. I'm thinking of using these strips to begin scrapbooking or creating mood boards which will be fun !

One of my favourite books and film adaptions is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I usually watch the films in times where I don't feel unsure in myself and social situations or basically, when I'm going through a crisis which occurs when I remember that I possess limited social skills. I watched it at the end of Christmas Day when I was still convinced that it was overrated and although it was a great film, I felt that I had seen better. Then I watched it the night before St Patrick's Day which was when it had an actual effect on me and I began to really appreciate it. I think I could have watched bits of it once or twice since then, but I read the book briefly in bits over the Easter Holidays and began reading it properly last week. From reading the book, I understood Charlie's character and the relationships even more and I ended up getting really upset since I related to Charlie more than I've related to any character in a good while if not ever. Also, there were a lot of the social scenarios that he finds himself in that were too similar to the ones I've been in, difference is that these situations in the book of course have a happy ending and my real life scenarios do not. And for that reason, I am yet to end the book and have given up reading it in the early hours of the morning. I'll probably try to finish it over the next week or two and then watch the film as part of my time to familiar myself with social situations movie marathon the night before school returns.

And I began highlighting my favourite quotes in books because 

a. I like them
  b. they look pretty in photographs and 
c. I may or may not have been inspired by certain films and social media accounts.

Slightly unwarranted but warranted explanation. 

Can we take a few moments to applaud Amandla Stenberg and the other amazing people using their platform - particularly online - to turn a negative into a positive and to educate people and raise awareness on issues that still exist in society. I find The Internet to be quite a negative place a lot of the time and a lot of people - except my mam, who does actually understand, thank god - tell me to take a break from it and I then ask them why should I have to accept the negativity ? Two afternoons ago was like a bloody beam of light. First, I read Stenberg's interview in Dazed and could not stop beaming. I first watched Stenberg's video 'Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows' several months ago which really educated me on cultural appropriation and why it is such an issue. She's an actress and activist I respect so much since she's actually using her platform to raise awareness and therefore, educate others on issues still around in 2015 that shouldn't be - i.e cultural appropriation, lack of racial diversity, feminism and so on. I also recommend her Life Syllabus in Rookie and her Tumblr  - both are so so amazing. The next enlightening thing I found was Teenage Mysticism and I cannot describe how brilliant it is ! Despite only discovering this two days ago, I have already learned so much and have regained interest in so many topics. The content is so interesting, articles on teenagers and politics,  white-washed feminism, interviews with men who can point out that feminism isn't misandry, musicians and models. I've also being reading Rookie a lot more and all in all, I have regained faith in the Internet ! 

Mam's camera is amazing, I don't think that I appreciate the quality of the photographs it takes enough ! I've been trying to spend more time outside with the rabbits before the month is out and they're beginning to adjust to the different camera which means they stand still and stare when they hear the shutter sound and then proceed to start sniffing the camera which is entertaining until they refuse to leave the thing alone ! The hens have also stopped thinking that it is food, which is great ! I cropped the above photo as the chicken on the left who we know as The Half Eaten One still looks like she has been - wait for it - half eaten and although her feathers are growing back, I don't want to gross out anyone ! The weather has been so warm so THEO - we're shortening the name of the half eaten one - tends to stay in the shade inside the rabbit house a lot whilst it's open but today Plum was resting there too and they were both there taking a nap together and it was probably the cutest thing that I've ever seen ! On the topic of photo taking, I missed watching the meteor shower last night so I'm giving it a go tonight and hopefully I'll have one or two pictures of the sky to share !

Right now, I'm listening to Coming Down by Dum Dum Girls - as you can see above, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, You Are The Sun by French Films and Friends by Led Zeppelin. They all kind of sound similar and are very calming which is partially why I'm enjoying the sound of them so much right now. The first and last song mentioned are both from the 1970's so you can work out from that that I am going through quite a 70's phase at the moment, hence me becoming dangerously close to reblogging every pretty photo I see on the 70's tags, except I'm too stubborn to change my whole pastel theme. Back on top, the other two songs remind me of the era too, although possibly 90's if we're discussing Dum Dum Girls but all these songs just make me feel as if I'm on a never ending road trip in the summer months three or four decades ago ! 

Mam made the most amazing dinner, which could be described as vegan if we ignore the garlic bread ! On the left is crispy kale which tastes so so good, it's honestly the nicest food that I have tried in a while ! Kale has always been one of my favourite vegetables anyway but when rubbed in oil and shoved in the oven with a sprinkling of salt, it is extremely satisfying and tastes very similar to ready salted crisps ! I'm generally quite a healthy eater, I mean my whole family are, except this summer food's just kind of being fueling my problems - it either fills a hole or digs a hole further. So I'm just here coming up with a list in my head where I place my worries in terms of where I'd ideally like them to be and food is at the very bottom. 

So that's everything that I've been loving lately and I'd love to hear about your current interests in the comments !

Grace x 

Sunday, 9 August 2015


 Let's take a moment of silence to appreciate my brilliant photo editing skills above. Okay, maybe it's more like - we ought to take a moment of giggling to appreciate the horrendous but hilarious photo editing skills in the photo above. Guys, the lighting was awful and desperate times called for desperate measures. I ventured outside to film this video and take photographs today and surprisingly enough, the results were way better than my usual indoor attempts. Luckily enough for me, the weather was quite mild today and the wind worked in my favour, although I can't say the same for the lighting. For added entertainment, I recommend checking my Twitter page where I tweeted a photo of my 'filming set up'. Yet another example of desperate times calling for desperate measures. 

 Anyway, all this effort is for my current everyday makeup routine ! I haven't done one of these in ages since I find that as soon as I film it, I change my whole routine. My makeup routine changes so so often - practically on a monthly basis - and I go through a lot of phases of trying different makeup trends, I could ramble here for hours about the amount of crazy styles I have attempted so we may leave that aside until another time ! My current routine does not consist of an awful lot at all since I wasn't wearing concealer anymore already and then I didn't bother wearing eye shadow - which was beginning to stress me out - during a few busy mornings and now it's just easier and way quicker to forget it, although I probably will begin experimenting with eye shadow again in September when I don't procrastinate on getting ready ! 

Eyeliner is the first step in my makeup routine. Using the thin side of the Essence 2in1 eyeliner pen, I apply a very light line on my upper lash line and then I wing it out, using the thick side. I then line my waterline using an Elizabeth Arden eye pencil in black-brown and I use the same pencil on my inner corners. It took me a good month or two to figure out how to achieve the look I wanted but I'm pretty sure that I have it almost ideal now and I really feel that it gives my eyes a lovely shape. On a side note, I regularly mess up all aspects of eyeliner, thanks to my lack of coordination ! I finished off my eye makeup with the Maybelline Great Lash mascara, although I sometimes skip this step. After this, I used the No7 Pressed Powder in Translucent so that my face didn't resemble an oil refinery all day and combed my brows. I partially filled in my brows with a Catrice eyebrow pencil and combed out the excess with the comb at the opposite end of the pencil. Finally, I applied an Elizabeth Arden lip pencil in the shade Taupe as a base and outline all over my lips and then completed the look with the Elizabeth Arden lipstick in shade 38

So that is my everyday makeup routine and you can watch the video version of it just above here - I used voice over ! My videos look professional ! Wow ! And then the muffin man song begins playing.

And on that note, I think we'll call it a day,

Grace x

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Surrounded by the Green

New Look cami top | Penneys cardigan | Topshop skirt | Tesco boots

Blogging had to be put off for a day since the weather was awful all day and evening yesterday plus I rarely have a 'backup post' planned so today I decided to embrace the good weather and find a different location. Usually this shaded area works brilliantly during these autumn months but we won't even get into how many takes it took to get these photos ! Moral of the story - SLRs do not like shaded locations with bright backgrounds ! As for my outfit above, I've had this cami top for over a month and I still can't believe that I'm only featuring it in an outfit post today ! It is such a comfortable top for this time of the year and goes with everything. Yes, I may resemble a character from the Flintstones at times with the cut out at the bottom but let's just ignore that for now ! I also haven't worn my cute Topshop skirt in ages since I didn't feel very comfortable in it for a very long time but for some reason, I really love how it looks and feels with this top plus the colours form a gorgeous colour scheme together so I'm feeling autumnal vibes off this combination ! The black cardigan was added since the whole outfit looked a slight bit bland and unfinished without it plus I was freezing cold, even with the warmer day so there we go !

After shooting photos, I took the camera outside to photograph Plum and Truffle - Truffle's the first bunny above and Plum's the second, in case you're new - and the two chickens were intrigued as always and I snapped a photo of the half-eaten chicken but I share it here since it could be described as graphic. If you're wondering why we have a hen known as the half eaten one, well we cannot remember either of their names so one looks healthy so she's known as the healthy one and the other has permanently 'lost' feathers down her chest so she has been renamed as the half eaten one. Is that too descriptive ?

The past few days have consisted of many episodes of things that would only happen to Grace fiascos which have been documented on my Twitter and Snapchat but in case you missed it, I'll give you a little lowdown. The first incident occurred on Monday when I suspected that my earphones were caught in my duvet which I had placed in the washing machine. Low and behold, the damn earphones - only half working, anyway - were spinning in the machine but two days on the clothes horse later and they still work ! I repeat, they still work ! The following incidents occurred yesterday when for once I wasn't in Tesco having an adrenaline rush because I was panicking - nope it was because I was as hyper as a toddler. Total sensory processing problems. Between discovering that the filling in the centre of Jaffa Cakes is orange flavoured - the answer to your questions is that I thought it was just jaffa jelly - and mam buying me a bubble wand, my Snapchat story was both amusing and irritating. In other news, the latter hours of today consisted of all blog-related tasks which kept me busy ! The other #tbloggers chat hosts have been organising future topics which I am so excited for so don't forget to join in on Saturdays from 8-9pm on Twitter !

Grace x