Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thought: Blogs in Brief

Get your weekend off to a gentle pace as you browse our Blogs in Brief. 

We've reached the weekend - the time to slow down, recover and recuperate while letting the stresses and strains of the week wash over you. I like to kick this process off with a lazy Saturday morning and a spot of browsing. I've highlighted some of my favourite reads this week to ease you into a slow Saturday.

While slightly self-congratulatory, My Morning Routine is incredibly inspiring and has encouraged me to finally stop pressing snooze. 

Who doesn't love browsing Coachella photos? It just all looks so picturesque and perfect. I'm about as far from sun-dwelling and boho as you can find, so I would never attend, but it's nice to see all the very pretty outfits. 

This Sali Hughes piece on long-wear crayons has inspired me to revamp my makeup bag and go for a easy, fresh Spring look. 

R x 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Life: What is stress?

The not so funny thing about stress.

Why does it seem that suffering from stress, or being overwhelmed by a stressful situation is so synonymous with being weak, or incapable? Far more often the case is that he or she has probably gone over and above what was asked of them, or that they have been juggling so many balls that you'd probably need 18 metaphorical hands. 
What even is stress anyway? Fear? Responsibility? Helplessness? A never ending to do list with no way of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or not knowing when you'll get to the stage where you can stop, take a breath, stand in stillness for a while and come back fresher with more clarity and calmer.

It can cause lack of sleep, it causes you to not care about things, like what shoes you put with your outfit, or whether you should have really washed your hair this morning. Personally, working in fashion, and as someone who cares a lot about shoes and hair, I guess that should have been a big sign that it was all a bit too much.

By definition it is: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stress is a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it's an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event, or series of stressful events can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body​.

I see it a bit like a pan of boiling water: you adjust the flame underneath and the blistering bubbles of steam subside and the surface becomes calm again, sure the water underneath looks busy, like the ​water ​​is trying to mimic Oxford street shoppers on a Saturday, but the water is under control again. The thing is, that eventually left unattended that flame does its job and the water over boils.

I think that's how I largely deal with stress, I figure out ways to subside the ​it, a couple of glasses of wine here, a wonderful friend who says "hmm" and "that's ridiculous" and "have you tried writing a to do list" in all the right places there, but none of it solves the source of the problem. So for the past few months I have been concentrating on managing my stress, reclaiming control over the overwhelming cloud of responsibility & rebalancing my commitments. By no means have I won the battle yet, but realising that this is my life and I am too old and life is too short to be huddled in a toilet cubicle talking to myself.

For me my stress is/was 100% work related. So I reclaimed my ‘own’ time, including mornings, lunch breaks and evenings. Working all day every day is exhausting and clouds your vision so:

  • I stopped checking my emails on my way into work - all that did was create an unorganised panic based to-do list
  • I made a conscious effort to have a lunch break – ok, I haven’t managed every day, but the few times I do manage it, it makes a world of difference
  • I negotiated flexible working hours. – fairly extreme, but I was doing 10.5+ hour days, regularly, for consecutive months. So I called HR, had my contract realigned so every other weekend I have 3 days to gather my thoughts and take a real break. It has taken a while to not feel guilty or like I am skiving, but it works.

Sure, I still suffer from the odd time where I am unable to see the end / light / surface but making the decision to reclaim my time helped me. 

How do you deal with your stresses?

J x

Monday, 13 April 2015

Style: Women in Business

Office dressing for the style minded.

How does a woman in 2015 dress for the office, while maintaining her own style and feeling good about herself? It's a tough question but one we've thankfully done the leg work on! 

It's so easy for a man, Monday through Thursday simply requires an easy combination of suit and tie and then Friday and the arrival of business casual means the tried and tested formula of chinos, printed shirt and jumper - easy. 

But as always, being a woman is a touch more complicated and office style requires more care and attention. 

Heels Vs Flats

The eternal question. After years of experimenting with this I have got it down to: if you need to impress or boost your confidence then heels are a safe bet. If you're out for lunch, or mostly working solo at your desk then flats are the way forward. Occasionally an outfit can be constructed with enough clean lines and sleek colours to enable a flat to look truly smart, but more often than not you need an extra inch or two to really lift an outfit. 

Blazers Vs Cardigan 

For me it has to be a cardigan. Unfortunately shards of the glass ceiling still remain and cardigans conjure up far too soft and slouchy connotations for me. Choose a blazer, whether fitted, structured, draped or cropped and enjoy how it adds nous to even the simplest looks. 

Colour Vs Black

Happily I think both in equal measure is this right answer here. All black was made for a rainy Monday with a long to-do list - just make sure your accessories are on point and your hair well style. Colourful looks however do help you make a lasting impression so I'd suggest at least a splash of colour, if not a head to tow coordinated look, if you're meeting someone for the first time. 

Skirts Vs Trousers 

Now this one is entirely body shape dependant, but either (worn properly) can look smart and chic. If it's a skirt then opt for pencil or calf length and if it's trousers then keep them pinned to the ankle and a mid-rise. 

On the whole, keep your looks simple and structured, try and introduce a range of colours and stay away from anything too soft, fluffy and "cuddly". After years of practice I now have a refined work wardrobe that I rotate, meaning I don't repeat outfits more than every 2-3 weeks. It makes getting ready quick, easy and pain free and means I always feel confident and chic in the board room. 

R x

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Thought: Blogs In Brief

Spend a leisurely Saturday browsing our latest posts, I promise you it'll include some pretty pictures and inform you on the latest trends.  

Head over to our Easter thoughts, to see what we were all thankful for this Spring: R~A~J~E Are Thankful This Easter and let us know what yours are.

Or if you're after a bit of beauty advice then why not cast your eyes over our beauty style guide from A:The Best of Autumn Winter Beauty

Enjoy. E x