Leaving Sunderland.

Monday, 13 October 2014

I'm currently in a dorm room at Bath Spa University, where my friend, Holly Wilson, studies Drama. She's in a late lecture and has rehearsals afterwards until 9pm, which gives me a couple of hours to ponder, provided security remain blissfully unaware of my presence. (I gather they are rather anal about visitors here, for lack of a better word.) I have spent the past twenty minutes drinking the final dregs of Moet out of yesterday's bottle, whilst avidly researching train times for tomorrow. Tomorrow, I'm heading back up North to inform my university that I'm leaving. I feel horridly nervous, in limbo. Utterly useless to the world. The rain isn't particularly helping, either. I want to get these next few hideous days over with. I already know they're going to be hard, telling my flatmates what's going on. Etc etc.

Cock-ups are  inevitable, no matter who you are. And it's fair to say that I cocked up in deciding to commit myself to such a niche, secular degree course. I have always been a passionate writer and an open fashion enthusiast, so it was absolutely devastating to discover that the Fashion Journalism course at Sunderland University wasn't for me. I based my A Level choices on doing Fashion Journalism, which - in the jammy bastard we commonly refer to as hindsight - was also a bit daft. However, it certainly isn't a matter of 'fault.' All university courses seem shiny on the website and glossy at the open days, but the reality can sometimes be something entirely different to what you expected, which in my case, it certainly was.

I can't really share my thoughts on my course as openly as I'd like to on here, as I think some readers might be offended by what would only come across as academic/geographical snobbery. As unlike myself as it is to hold back on what I think, I am going to for the time being, all in the time of sensitivity and politeness, Perhaps I'm the only person on the course who found both it and Sunderland  - as a city -unenjoyable... Making 'Visual Posters' about 'La Belle Epoque' and writing one 400 word news story in a month didn't seem adequate for the thousands of pounds worth of tuition I would've eventually become indebted with. As impractical and financially frustrating it will be to leave now, all for the sake of yet another 'life experience,' I can't say I'm overwhelmingly bemused at myself. I feel incredibly lucky that this has happened now, as opposed to a year into my course, when I would be that much older and I'd have wasted a significantly greater amount of both money and time. In the grand scheme of L.I.F.E this is a minor B.L.I.P. My plans? I will be moving house from Nether Stowey in Somerset to  Marybourne in Hampshire with my parents in a matter of weeks, so that'll be the first hurdle, after-which will come UCAS: Round 2. (Ding ding.) I'm going to look at English courses at Russell Groups: UCL, Bristol, Exeter. Places like that. I'll whizz my applications in, with crossed fingers and then work for the rest of the year. I have my As already so there's none of that 'Will I? Won't I?' when it comes to getting the grades.

Let's just hope they'll want me...






George at ASDA's A/W 2014 Home Collection. My bedroom picks.

Friday, 10 October 2014

I do like altering the aesthetic of my bedroom from time to time, but being a poor student, I have to be savvy when it comes to spending. (I am horrendous at this and come Chrismas, I shall probably be living off baked beans.) I was recently contacted about having a nosey at George at ASDA's A/W 2014 Home Collection, so I thought it the perfect opportunity to take a look at what they have on offer in their current 'Bedroom' section, without breaking the bank. Despite offering a 'Lookbook' for 'Room Inspiration,' I decided to select five of my own A/W favourites, as it's always fun to be original! 

1.) George Home Highland Check Brushed Duvet Set 
'With a red and orange checked design, this duvet set is the perfect way to bring some colour to your bedroom. Looking great in any setting, this traditional set is crafted from pure brushed cotton for a great night's sleep.'

(Includes a king duvet cover and two pillow cases.)
The plaid trend is huge again this season in the Fashion World, so I find it unsurprising that George's Home range is brimming with it.  Plaid’s strong presence on the A/W 2014 runways has us celebrating the return of the traditional print. Though plaid dates back hundreds of years, it's anything but old fashioned. 


2.) George Home Goose Feather & Down 10.5 Tog Duvet - Double - £45.00

'Enjoy the ultimate in luxury with this 'goose feather 10.5 tog double duvet from our range of bedding
 essentials. This duvet is filled with incredibly soft goose feather fillings for superior support and comfort, with 230 thread count Egyptian cotton coverings. Machine washable and tumble dry safe for easy cleaning.' 
As dull and obvious as it may be, a sufficiently warm duvet is essential for these colder months. This particular one comes in every size and would be perfectly paired with the plaid duvet set, above. It'd be super practical for anyone who is at university, as it can be thrown into the washing machine and the tumble dryer, too. 


3.) Jones Tartan Clock - 25 cm £10.00

'Tartan up your home with this decorative clock. It has a decorative Arabic dial on composite wood with
 spade hands.'


There's a bit of a theme going on here... This 'Tartan Clock' is both afforadable and trendy. It's always good to have a couple of matching bits and bobs to create balance and coordiation in any room. At the price of £10, it's a really cheap and efficent way of subtly decorating without going overboard. (You'll keep your time well too - always a plus.) 



4.) Weathered Pine Tall Lamp Table £95.00




'The Weathered Pine collection features a re-claimed, re-purposed finish which gives this furniture a
 stylish rustic look. In a traditional style inspired by 19th century designs, this elegant tall side table features beautiful carved details and solid wood turned feet. Perfect for displaying a lamp or houseplant, or holding treasured pictures and ornaments.

Take a look at the rest of our range for matching items to complete your perfect living or dining room.'


This lamp table would look gorgeous anywhere in the home, but I think it'd really make for a rustic, cosy aesthetic in the bedroom. Weathered pine furniture looks lovely against fairy lights, particuarly in the Christmas period. 


5.) George Home White Traditional Brass Lamp £17.00





'This traditional brass table lamp makes the perfect complement to any space. A perfect blend of soft diffused light and traditional stylings, this table lamp has a polished brass stand and base and an ivory white fabric lampshade.

Complete the look and mix and match from our fantastic range of home accessories.'

Here is a light I found that I think would look lovely standing on the Weathered Pine Tall Lamp Table. I think the metallic bronze would look great against more rugged appearence of the table. I have an unusual penchant for purchasing lamps at this time every year, as my bedroom at my parents' house was always very dark, especially when the evenings were growing darker. 

Lord Hughes. The Black Label Collection.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


'The attire a man chooses reflects him, refines him and in the end, defines him.' -Lewis Hughes. 




Lord Hughes is a newly launched brand, born out of the belief that the old fashioned British identity was dwindling from existence. It's founder, Lewis Hughes, in the early days of April this year, believed it was possible to refine the British identity, values and heritage into a new and exciting project. The brand stands for much more than it's name; the values, traditions and it's very nature  encompasses what it is to be British. Lewis Hughes has taken the classic, timeless and subtle dress code of  the contemporary gentleman and has fashioned a polo range that is both easy to wear and stylish. The lion crest of Lord Hughes is an emblem that silently guards the the timeless values and heritage from the chest of all Lord Hughes polo shirt wearers in the Black Label Collection. 

Lord Hughes is committed to next generation ideas, which birthed the 'Tomorrow, Today' campaign, which demonstrates a commitment to working with high quality, environmentally conscious suppliers as well as actively being involved in creating a brighter future. Lord Hughes believes in backing and pledging to projects around the World. Evidence of this can be seen on their website under the section, 'Tomorrow, Today,' which was voiced over by John Mundy. In the future, Lord Hughes aim to continue to pledge back to projects around the world, expand their collection and be stocked to major retailers as well as launching their first store. 

Below, my boyfriend, Hugo Hall wears the Navy Blue polo in a size M. There are twelve colours to choose from in this collection, featuring three different blues, blue being at the focus of the range, being a highly popular and universally suited shade, the inspiration behind the tag 'Hues of Blue.' Having received the delivery myself, I can confirm that the price of the product (£50) is well reflected in its good quality. Lord Hughes, despite being a UK based company, do ship abroad, as to bridge the gaps between lifestyle and distance. 

Worn by itself or under a jumper (see final image - the red jumper is not affiliated with Lord Hughes) the polos are excellent for everyday casual wear and sportswear.



Freshers, Fenwick, and French Martinis.

Sunday, 21 September 2014


It's been a fairly long while since I last posted anything on here or on my Tumblr. I've been having a bit of a break from everything over the summer holidays before university, but now I've arrived and settled in, it's time to get back to normality.

 A week ago last Friday was the day that I actually moved into my shared flat in Panns Bank, the Halls of Residence I'm going to be living in for the rest of this year. There are six of us in total: Danielle, Jenny, Emma, Liam, Jake and I. We're all very fortunate in the sense that we get along like a house on fire and that we are all doing courses that are based at the St Peter's Campus just over the bridge - which is both dangerous and terrifying - from where we live. At some stage I may well do a post on my flat, for those potential readers who are looking to study at The University of Sunderland, wanting a bit of an insight into how a typical Panns Bank flat looks. For now - however - I'll just include a few of my Instagram (SOPHIAALEXANDRASTANCER) snaps of my bedroom. (Below.) 


The desk/shelf space opposite my single bed.



For me, personally, Freshers Week has been marvellous. I haven't attended all of the scheduled events - such as the 'Paint Party' - as it didn't seem my cup of tea, but I've been to the majority, the Zoo Party quite possibly being one of my best nights out. My flatmate Jenny and I are both a bit older than most of the Freshers here, and so, have already experienced the freedoms that come with living away from home already, which has been rather lovely when the others have all wanted to stay out until six in the morning. We simply get a cab home together, make food and collapse into bed, whilst Danielle and Emma have vast amounts of alcohol-induced excitement energy and a higher tolerance when it comes to uncomfortable shoes. (I'm not boring, just incapable of getting up in the mornings, which has been a necessity this week, especially on Wednesday when all of us Journalism students were given a talk. Claire Burgess, who has recently finished an internship at Vogue was among the other speakers on the panel.)

There have been a couple of highlights in my first week, chiefly the day I spent in Newcastle on Thursday with the Fashion Journalism girls.  Our Course leader, Julie Bradford, organised a talk with Holly Ritchie, Fenwick's Ladies Wear Buyer, who had just been to NYFW, on the top floor of the department store. Holly gave a twenty minute presentation outlining her role as a buyer for the store and offered us all a brief history of Fenwick, which was really very interesting. She told us facts about her store specifically, such as: Vivienne Westwood is the most popular designer brand in the North East. Despite being a Fashion Journalism student and not a Business/Buying and Merchandising student, I found the whole experience valuable nevertheless and took four pages of A4 notes. Irritated at myself for being dumbstruck and unable to think of any questions at the end, I took down her email address, which may come in useful at some stage in the future. 


After we left the lecture, we were set a task of choosing any item from the Ladieswear floor, to write a very short recommendation on for the readers of Fashion North. I selected Mulberry's Classic Bayswater in this season's new bright red colour as my must-have A/W accessory, writing a brief 112 words and attaching a couple of careful images taken on my iPhone5s. (Below.) Our group feature should be available to read online now.





Aside from class and scheduled fixtures, my flatmates were persuaded to come out for cocktails on Tuesday night. Due to the fact that I am from the other end of the country, I was blissfully unaware of the fact that it was Sunderland's Gay Night, which transpired to be the most hilarious experience, men in fishnet tights with better legs than all of the girls handing us flyers, roaming the streets of Sunderland, club to club. Emma took us to Legacy, which I've got a feeling is going to be my favourite bar up here, where on Tuesdays they do ridiculous drinks deals, £3 for one shot of either Sambuca or tequila, a cocktail and a spirit mixer. 


We are going back next Tuesday. 

French Martini 



  

My 'Growth and Evolution' exhibition at Hestercombe House, Somerset.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

My Summer holidays this year have been fairly eventful so far. I've sat in St. George's Chapel in Windsor, sat amongst The Sovereign and the rest of the Royal bunch at The Most Noble Order of the Royal Garter service (whilst sporting a hat with a mind of its own,) and drunk myself to a red wine-induced oblivion at my boyfriend's pub in Combe Florey. It's been unpredictable and wonderful to say the very least. 

However, one of my more planned events has been a significant highlight. The week before Glastonbury, I was dropped off by a frantic, late-for-work Hugo (in a Mercedes with frighteningly screaming brakes) at my childhood happy place - Hestercombe House. My A2 end-of-year Photography exhibition was held there as a result of having a super-organised Photography teacher who was really keen to have our work showcased and our progress acknowledged. Unfortunately, upon arrival,  I was actually over an hour early for the opening, so I found myself a secluded area near the car park, behind some trees, where I sat chain-smoking for about forty minutes until my friends Matt, Mey and Belle arrived. 

Despite being the first there, we only headed inside once the other guests started piling in. There were several catering staff members handing out glasses of wine and we all felt slightly uneasy and awkward, not really understanding where we were meant to go. It was a seriously humid day, my one glass of red wine apparently going straight to my head. Once we'd ascertained what was happening, the four of us took our time to appreciate each and every piece, I've never before seen Matthew Haines looking quite so pensive. My series of six photographs were placed on the first board on the left, in the initial exhibition room. I was shocked and surprised to notice that there wasn't an abundance of monochrome images. I was secretly chuffed, as it was only at exhibition that I truly realised I'd made some good decisions regarding my editing and framing. 

My parents and my model, Hannah, showed up shortly after we'd all given the showing a good and proper run for it's money, and so, we waited outside in the rose garden for them, deciding that we would definitely return at some stage over the Summer, the girls both agreeing to model a photo-shoot in the gardens. Infact, my penchant for photographing beautiful flowers kickstarted that day at Hestercombe and looks set to continue going by the current state of my Instagram... 



Hestercombe House
The rose garden


The rose garden





My series of six images, relating t the theme: Growth and Evolution. 

Glastonbury Festival 2014

Friday, 4 July 2014


After a monumental level of stress, under-the-radar entry methods and the ultimate style abandon/fashion-block whilst packing, this year I attended my first ever festival. Going to Glastonbury before dabbling in other British music festivals was potentially the biggest shock of my entire life, and so, I am currently lying in bed with a temperature of 39.C.

Being a Glastonbury 'virgin,' I was fairly bewildered whilst finding things to shove into my enormous bag beforehand at home, as the weather forecast was - naturally - pointing to miserable rain and a thunderstorm on the Friday - which did actually happen - causing Rudimental's set to be cut short. Common sense screamed light layering-pieces incase of cold, a hefty raincoat, (which was naturally hideous in shades of mouldy turquoise and a radioactive cobalt blue) and my trusty pink Hunter Wellington Boots. I spent most of my time at Glastonbury Festival in attire that made me look like the lovechild of two rainbows on acid, but I had an incredible time nevertheless. 


The photograph above depicts my bizarre Glastonbury wardrobe, (damp rucksack sounds more accurate,) which was full of vibrant colours, patterned silk structured-trousers, bold textures such as mesh and faux fur coats and ultra-femenine accessories such a faux-pink-rose flower crown, a large embellished 'rope' necklace from Topshop and a copious quantity of silver body and face glitter to mask my Glastonbury induced ugliness. I took my usual 'on-the-run' makeup kit with me, which included the Benefit 'They're real!' mascara, my MAC Studio Fix Fluid, a brown Chanel eyebrow pencil and a lip balm in 'Amber and Black Plum,' which I was sent by Alice and Eliza a while ago. 

As I took my IPhone 5S with me, I was able to capture a couple of my favourite moments, such as overlooking the surreal view from Stone Circle, snapping Lana del Rey during her stunning set and making memories with friends. (See below.) I was a ball of energy whilst I was there, so I saw several acts every single day. Some of my favourites included Paolo Nutini, Dolly Parton, Kasabian, Imagine Dragons, Foster the People, Fatboy Slim and Annie Mac. I would recommend the festival to anyone, as there is definitely something there for everyone. There's music, loads of interesting comedy/circus acts and thousands of amazing people all looking for a fun time. Yes it rained, yes the toilets left alot to be desired and yes I didn't have a shower for four days (*shudder*) but everyone is in the same boat and the ticket is fantastic value for money and the nitty gritty side to Glastonbury adds to the ambiance of the event if anything. If you've always wanted to go but have been worried about it not being your 'thing,' my advice is go for it!

Fantastic.  


An example of my Glastonbury style, taken by Aron Fuller in the BBC Introducing Stage whilst My Nu Leng were playing. 



What I found in my Spring/Summer 2014 Melody Maison 'Goodie Box.'

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Earlier this week, I was very fortunate to receive an enormous delivery package from a furniture/home decoration brand called Melody Maison. Melody Maison is a company that I have blogged about in the past, as around this time last year, I ordered their 'Pays Blanc' dressing table, which is absolutely beautiful. They supply Parisian/Vintage style furniture and home accessory items, which are reasonably priced in comparison to other suppliers, in my opinion. 

Included in my Spring/Summer 2014 press goodie box, were the following items. (I have included prices and links to the items on their website.) 








2.)  White 'Home Sweet Home' Metal Jug£11.95






3.) Two Tier Cake Stand Jewellery Display: £8.95





4.) White Wooden Post Rack£5.95 









All of the products I received (depicted above) seem to be very durable and are of good quality, given their fairly low prices. They would make wonderful house warming presents for friends and family, or just as a treat to oneself. The delivery of my Press 'Goodie Box,' was considerably faster than the delivery of my dressing table, which took almost a month, whereas my box only took two days. I will definitely be ordering from Melody Maison in the future, to buy a few more items of furniture form their Pays Blanc range, which I have found to be exquisite. 

Thankyou very much to everyone at Melody Maison for considering me for this opportunity. I'm very pleased with what I was sent.

New: Silver Pointed Shoes.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

If I posted every individual item I bought on here, this would be the dullest blog in the Universe. As much as I enjoy watching hauls on Youtube and checking out other Bloggers' styles on Instagram and so on, I don't get much out of reading essays about how - for example - a 'Topshop flippy dress is the most flattering thing like ever.' However, I couldn't resist with these shoes. I would be lying if I said I wasn't bragging, as I got the very last pair in stock, one of the many benefits of having size seven feet. (Flippers.)

Recently, I've become deeply infatuated with pointed pumps of all descriptions, as - having somewhat larger feet - they can look bigger than they actually are in rounded-toe shoes/boots. I also love the classicality that a pointed court can bring to an ensemble. In the spirit of trying new things and incorporating interesting new styles into my attire, I have been experimenting with colour a bit more lately, which has encouraged an overall mixed reception from my closest friends and confidantes. I recall Hugo on his 21st birthday asking me: 'What the *@!* are you wearing?' when sporting a gorgeous red Zara jacket and a vintage Missoni dress - not so charming! Despite the trickle of negative reactions from the clueless, I'm positive that the stunning silver colour of these pumps is perfect for mixing it up and will look great paired with cigarette pants or midi skirts all year round. Luckily I'm not one to mind what others think! 

Not that I'm already thinking about it loads... (Okay, I'm lying. I am.) I think these will be my 'go-to' pair whilst I am in Paris this Summer with Hugo for our one year anniversary, as the heel is fairly small and they're not so pointed that my feet are squashed into mini-misile-esque shapes, the last thing anyone needs whilst galavanting around Paris. In fact, I will probably take all four of the items in the photograph below (A 'powder' blue fur stole, real suede grey pointed boots, silver pumps from Asos and a Roger & Gallet rose scented soap), which were all purchased at different stages of the past month to get me through the final stages of college. I am very excited to do my OOTDs whilst I am in Paris, as I'm sure we will both be taking hundreds of pretty photographs whilst we're there, so I will have no excuse to be lazy and neglect my blog afterwards!

I hope you like them, I'm obsessed!

A 'powder' blue fur stole, real suede grey pointed boots, silver pumps from Asos and a Roger & Gallet rose scented soap. 



Goodbye Richard Huish.

Richard Huish Sixth Form has been an interesting experience for me. I can't knock the staff or teaching, as both exceeded my expectations having gone to a fairly decent boarding school beforehand. However, it's not a place I am going to 'miss' as such. I certainly won't be walking through that entrance ever again after I've finished my exams, but - then again- why on Earth would I need to?

 Richard Huish has been a stepping stone. Granted, they have some extremely questionable systems such as their MTG system, a way that apparently predicts students the entirely wrong grades. (I was predicted Bs/Cs and achieved As in my AS levels.) The compulsory completion of EPQ - a personal project where you are given a random teacher who you don't know or have classes with to monitor your progress - is another unusual one. I suppose they think it's useful for us to 'mix it up' a bit. They were clearly attempting at humour by giving me a sports teacher. Now that's definitely not somebody I'm ever likely to bump into...

To mark the end of what has been a slightly rocky upper sixth year, one of my friends, Anna, decided to have a bit of a 'champagne and strawberries' get-together at her house, which was gorgeous. It transpired that there were only three of us, which possibly worked better than having a big gaggle of girls, as it meant that: a.) We could talk about past events the three of us have been present at that wouldn't have been remotely relevant, amusing or interesting to anybody else. And b.) There was more  rosé champagne for each of us, which was pretty genius. (Also resulting in some bizarre and untoward non-jokes about Gandih's buttocks.) 

Ta-daaaa!

I don't quite know how or why, but we were persuaded to go out into town by Anna's Mum, with no money on us and a limited supply of cigarettes. I must have been slightly drunk as I 'fake-tanned' my arms in the full knowledge that I was going to be throwing a cardigan on before leaving the house. (Yes, I wore a cardigan to go clubbing, very lame.) It ended up being a bit of a non-event so we left 'Fever and Boutique' after about twenty minutes,  having had our picture taken (see below) on my iphone, by a girl who had a face like a smacked arse and - like us - probably didn't really want to be there.. She quite literally rolled her eyes. Anna and Holly went home shortly afterwards and I went for a drink with my boyfriend, who randomly emerged from nowhere into Taunton in a T-shirt... Spectacular!


Parisian Chic at an Asda price.

Friday, 2 May 2014

George at Asda, have just launched an all new and exciting Home range, featuring classic styles, modern minimalism and bright, summery hues. I was asked to post about the collection, so after exploring each page through and through, I consequently came up with a fun idea for a blog edit: Parisian Chic at an Asda price. 

As a lover of French style, both fashion-wise and otherwise, this was a fairly breezy task. There are alot of ultra-femenine pieces and French-inspired home decorations. Below are my favourite seven picks which, together, could definitely transform a room, from a dull space to a Parisian boudoir. 


1.) George Home Eiffel Tower Lamp: £20.00






This lamp is quintessentially French, due to it being shaped like the Eiffel Tower. It's white, which achieves a more sophisticated and neutral overall impression, yet the shape keeps it fun. J'adore. 


2.) Natural Perfume Cushion - 40x50cm: £9.00



The first cushion in my 'favourite finds' is this sweet beige-coloured fabric cushion with a dark brown edge. The italic font adds an touch of French authenticity and the collection of words altogether look lovely. I can imagine this cushion on a large pin-striped armchair in the corner of either a living room or a bedroom. 




A contemporary twist on a traditional tea light holder, this pretty ASDA birdcage tea light stand would look elegantly suitable on any mantelpiece, hanging down as a floating ornament or as a table centrepiece.





I've noticed that ASDA's range of cushions and throws are excellently priced and are good value for money. Cushions are such a great way to subtly accessorise a room without drastic alteration, and at this price, you can change it up every couple of months if you want to!  This round pleated cushion combines traditional style with tasteful colour, in a neutral cream, this pleated cushion has a smooth finish and is complete with cute button detail at the centre.







This shimmering mirror is the ideal finishing touch to to your home. Its contemporary pewter finish will compliment and brighten up any room. The dimensions of 56 x 66cm make it a comfortable size, without being overbearing an awkward to position. 




6.) Marple Dressing Table £495.00



This dressing table has been crafted from solid wood and then hand painted in a lavish neutral Ivory colour. It's complete with a large tilting mirror, perfect for applying your makeup in, and a sumptuous upholstered stool. For added luxury, the unit has several spacious drawers for extra storage for your beauty necessities. 







This luxurious duvet cover set features a stunning sateen stripe in two pale, off-white shades. It would look wonderful in adding a  touch of luxury to any bedroom. Other than its dreamy aesthetic, this duvet cover and pillowcase is made from Egyptian cotton with a superior 300 thread count.  Machine washable for easy cleaning, what more could you ask for?