All black on a grey day

On Saturday evening we went out to celebrate my best friend’s birthday. It was quite a grey day but I managed to fit in some quick outfit shots, just before walking the dogs.

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I am making an effort to be more strict with my blogging schedule this year and aiming to take outfit pictures every Saturday, or at least once a week. I have tried this previously and managed to keep it going for a few months but I always end up getting swamped with work and giving up at some point.

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Fitting in blogging while running a business and a household can be tricky, but I’m trying to change things around to give me more time for blog posts and videos. I also filmed the “furry friends” tag for my youtube channel on Saturday so keep an eye out for that!

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Outfit Details

Jacket: ASOS

Jumper: Topshop

Trousers: Zara

Shoes: Miista

Bag: Givency

Necklace: Richard Ayres

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Fedora and pleated maxi skirt

Going for lunch at my parents’ house gave me a fun opportunity to walk the dogs in a maxi skirt and heels, which certainly amused the other dog-walkers we passed on the way. Luckily my Dr. martens heeled boots have a sturdy and can withstand a bit of gravel and mud.

This was also my first time trying out my new Armani exchange jacket. This is quite different to the styles I usually wear but I wanted to add a spring jacket to my wardrobe that wasn’t a blazer or made of leather and I think I quite like it.
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Jacket: Armani Exchange

Fedora: Asos

Skirt: Ebay

Boots: Dr. Martens

Necklace: Richard Ayres

Top: Topshop

Images by Richard Ayres Photography 

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Eustratia Lingerie

I don’t often feature shoots on here that I have not conceptualised myself, but I also seldom shoot in black and white, and thought these images were sufficiently different from anything I would normally post, to leave room for you to admire them and the lingerie, as well as whatever I decide to do with it next.

The set was shot as part of Alexander Bather’s “Night diary” exhibition last year and was arranged in collaboration with Vauhaus model agency, who also allowed their HQ to become the backdrop.

Some of you may remember, I released several bras with my Vanguard collection last year. I initially intended them to be worn more as tops but soon decided it would be better to make bottoms to go with them, so they can also be worn as lingerie, in a set.

I didn’t have much time to design before the shoot so I made two out of three styles on the day. Hazel had already ordered a set from me and had requested something that matched the bra with lots of straps, which I think I delivered. Lia wanted to wear a high waisted brief so just used the same fabrics and details as the bra and created something in that style. For the third set, I decided to make a thong for variety, without knowing who the model would be at the time.

I was quite pleased with how the came out for a first attempt, though I have now made adjustments and changed some of the details. I look forward to showing you the final versions in a photoshoot at some point soon. 9Q4A5214

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Images by Alexander Bather

Models Lia, Laura and Hazel 

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Lingerie by Eustratia

If you like what you see, you can get 20% off with code: EUSTL20, perfect for a Valentine’s day treat 😉

2016, goals and improvements

It’s finally the new year and we have to start getting used to writing 2016 after all our dates, something that always takes me ages!

It’s a bit of a cliche to to write down new year’s resolutions and it hasn’t been something I was ever particularly into when I was younger but since I became a business owner and then a blogger, I definitely saw how it could be helpful.

Last year, I didn’t write down goals as our dogs had puppies, which totally took over my life and I noticed that my year had less structure, so I wanted to get back on that again this year.

The first thing I did was write a list of all the months and outline my main collections, projects and photoshoots for the year, including adequate preparation times. There is no point releasing a wonderful themed photo-set, perfect for a certain occasion or season when that is already upon us coming to an end: This has happened to me before and I know it is something small companies often struggle with but I’m going to try my hardest to release everything early this year.

Seeing the whole year outlined in one little list actually makes it seem quite short and I feel like breaking it up into sections is helping me set realistic time-frames for achieving each project. When I think I’m not sure what to work on first, I often waste time trying to decide and end up falling behind.

You don’t have to run a business to make a monthly plan of the year, you could include your holidays and social calendar so you can start budgeting in advance or know which months you will have extra cash for luxuries, or you could include goals to achieve in your work or hobbies.

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 I have also made a bullet point goal list:

2016 GOALS

  • Make a more conscious effort to use cruelty free products. This is something I was already interested in and have done for most of my beauty and household products but I’m still sometimes surprised by the types of products are tested on animals so I’m going to make a bigger effort.
  • Only buy clothes I really love, support more independent designers, invest in designer items or make things myself. I have always hated fast fashion but sometimes I run out of time or money and decide to go for the easy option. I want to fight against that this year but ebay will still happen sometimes. 
  • Go out to eat and drink in more interesting places. My boyfriend and I can both cook, so we hardly ever go out to eat, but I’d like to be less of a hermit this year and explore the new places that have opened in Manchester, there are so many I’ve heard good things about.
  • Be more active on social media! This may surprise you, but I don’t like to be glued to my phone like a lot of people. I particularly enjoy instagram and pinterest at the moment but I could really use some encouragement, if you’re on there give me a follow and say hi! 
  • Go to America. I think I’ve said I wanted to do this for the last 5 years and I’m still sitting here writing this with an empty bank account but hopefully some magic will happen this year. 
  • Manage my daily tasks and still have some time for myself. This sounds pretty vague but my entire existence is like a juggling act and I’m always striving to complete it without dropping any of the balls. My appearance is always the first thing to go and I want to take more pride in that this year (while also having a clean house, successful business and well-behaved dogs).
  • Feature more beauty products on here. This follows on from my decision to take more care of myself. I’ve been getting more into beauty and skincare over the last year after a bit of a break in my “don’t buy anything that isn’t for the business” years and I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourites. 
  • Start doing videos. I thought I might as well write this one down to see if it motivates me further to do something about it. From how to put on strappy harnesses or latex leggings to house/studio tours and tutorials, I think it would be pointful and fun to make videos. I have wanted to do this for about 3 years now and I go through phases of trying to make a start but it getting it to the stage where it can be released just seems daunting. 
  • Post regularly. This year I’m taking a step back, planning only two posts and week and trying my hardest to keep up. If I can do that till May, I’ll think about adding something extra. 

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Manchester house

On Saturday we went to Manchester house for afternoon tea and cocktails.

They seem to serve a lot of classic treats with an interesting twist which really works for me and the staff are always friendly and helpful. Definitely one of my favourite places in Manchester.

The Manchester sky was sporting its trademark grey colour and I decided to take some pictures by the large windows on the 12th floor.

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Blazer: Karen Millen

Tunic: Topshop

Necklace: Richard Ayres

Earrings: Wildfox

Trousers: Eustratia

Clutch: H&M

Boots: Jeffrey Campbell

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