You all know I recently moved to Winchester to complete my university studies, and have wasted no time in footering about the city centre. With my local expert best pal Phoebe, I’ve been out exploring what Winchester has to offer, in food, drinks, fashion, and general sights!

I’m starting the series, When In Winch, to document some of my wee adventures round this pretty wee city, and hopefully inspire some of you to pay it a visit, or at least ooh and ahh over some of the most Pinterest-worthy meals ever created.

Kicking off the series, I have to start with Josie’s, a cosy but sophisticated cafe in the heart of the city. Everything about the place just oozes cool, from the sleek decor to the beautifully presented coffees and mouth watering menus.

The ultimate brunch destination, Josie’s was top of my list as soon as I heard about it. Once inside, I poured over the menu for the best part of 15 minutes, deliberating over several varieties of pancakes and breakfast muffins. I finally settled on an eggs benedict and fried chicken breakfast muffin, with a delicious mocha on the side to satisfy my coffee addiction.

I feel like the pictures pretty much say it all. The food was absolutely fantastic, the portions were huge, and I have to admit I did end up taking home almost half the portion for my dinner!

I’m determined to make these two years at university a time when I learn so much more than just my course syllabus; I just want to fill my brain and get better at life-ing (its a word, okay?). One thing I’m really keen to learn about is coffee. I am an absolute sucker for a well made cup of coffee, and I think to improve my knowledge, I ought to consume as many gorgeously presented cups of coffee as I can, right?

Our whole afternoon at Josie’s made my heart so happy. We had a good girly giggle over some absolutely top nosh, what’s not to love?

 

Until next time!

Aileen x

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I remember when I was eight years old, sat in my auntie’s house, listening to my cousin talking about how much she was loving studying at Glasgow Uni. I remember sitting in the car on the way home, absolutely determined that one day I too would be heading off to university.

I never realised how difficult and challenging achieving that dream would be.

Students get a lot of shit, they’re ‘lazy’, ‘lacking work ethic’, and ‘postponing the real world’ etc etc yadda yadda yadda, we’ve heard it all. University is often considered the easy option, and certainly when I was at school we were pushed down that route. As someone who has worked full time, and also attended university, I can wholeheartedly tell you, they are both equally as hard.

My university dream finally came true in September 2015, 2 years after all my friends went to uni. I’d struggled with keeping my Crohn’s Disease under control for a number of years, and when the time came in 2013, I was completely unprepared and unable to be away from home or look after myself. Fast forward two years, and with a load of work experience under my belt; I felt like I was ready.

If you’ve read some of my older posts, you’ll know that it wasn’t all plain sailing, and my dream quickly turned into a nightmare. Although I enjoyed the course content, and made some amazing friends that I adore, that first year at university utterly destroyed me. 450 miles away from my fantastic parents, I still had family around, but nothing could ever substitute for crying onto my mum’s shoulder and her throwing Maltesers at me, or singing daft wee songs to cheer me up.

By Christmas of 2015, I’d lost a stone in weight, I’d gone through a horrific break up, was severely depressed, rarely leaving the house, and eating even more rarely. My cupboards were stocked with untouched food packets bought months previously. For breakfast I’d have a glass of Diet Coke, and for dinner I’d make cheese on toast, if I had the energy. When I didn’t have the energy, it wasn’t unheard of for me to make a punnet of plum tomatoes substitute for two meals.

I’m extremely proud of myself for managing to see out the year, achieving a 2:1 standard overall, with a First Class in several modules. In 2016 I really managed to pick myself back up, I was healthy, happy, my relationship was back on track, things were going well! I decided not to return to my studies and to instead focus on bettering myself. I began a professional qualification in Marketing, and got my first job in the field!

That job… didn’t work out, to put it lightly. Think Devil Wears Prada. Nothing I did was right. I worked hard, contributed a bunch of ideas, and was just good at the job. Again, I had to make the decision to leave a toxic situation for the sake of my mental health, and there I began another soul-destroying job search. i

Something just wasn’t quite right, I didn’t want to just go to another job, I really wanted to get my degree! I put my application in to UCAS, and was absolutely ecstatic when University of Winchester offered me a place on the 2nd year of their Marketing course, which I’ll be starting in just over a month!

Its so important to realise that you do not have to go straight to university when you’re 18 and fresh out of sixth form. If you’re not ready, don’t go. Please do not feel pressured into making such a massive decision if you just don’t think its right. Nobody will be disappointed in you, you are not letting anyone down. Success does not depend on whether or not you have a degree, it can open doors, but it really depends what field you want to work in. Not everyone needs a degree to be successful, that’s a fact. Success comes from hard work and determination. Some of the most successful people I know left school with some questionable grades, but they worked really hard in their jobs and companies recognise and reward that.

Equally, I’m going back to university at 22, but I know people who’ve begun their studies in their 30s and 40s. University isn’t like school, no one cares about your age, for the most part people have grown up a little bit (that’s not to say you won’t come across the odd utter knobhead!), and you will have an amazing time and make friends no bother at all. University really is what you make it!

My journey to where I am today hasn’t been easy, but for the first time in a long time, I am truly excited about the future.

 

Love, Aileen x

 

 

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Any accustomed blogger over time will accumulate a collection of props, bits and pieces to spruce up and accessorise their blog photography. If you’re a new blogger, or are just changing up your photography game, you may be feeling pretty overwhelmed by seeing all these bright and beautiful flat-lays up and down your feed. Do not worry; you most likely don’t need to go out and buy items, as you may find that many of the things on this list are already lying about your house, or otherwise can be bought for a very small cost!

 

Photo Backgrounds 

  1. Wallpaper samples
    You can pick up wallpaper samples for free at your local B&Q or other shops of the like!
  2. Coloured paper
    Overlaying different colours of paper in a geometric pattern adds a pretty pop of colour to single-product photos.
  3. Wrapping Paper
    We’ve all got that box / drawer stuffed with wrapping paper and gift bows!
  4. Maps
    Travel bloggers; I gotchu!
  5. Rugs / Other Textiles
    Perfect for adding some texture to the image or creating a beautiful contrast, for example, between a wooden floor background and a soft furry rug.
  6. Marble Backdrop
    A blogger favourite! You can pick these up on Amazon for around the £5 mark.

Props:

  1. Plants / Flowers
  2. Notebooks
  3. Ribbon
  4. Confetti
  5. Washi Tape
  6. Stacks of magazines / books
  7. Candles
  8. Trays
  9. Your Starbucks cup! (Oh so very Instagram-worthy!)
  10. Sunglasses
  11. Your Laptop or Tablet
  12. Jewellery
  13. Food! (Some cute wee macarons or your gorgeous smoothie bowl creations)
  14. Polaroids
  15. Your camera
  16. Paint swatches (Again, freeeee from B&Q, Homebase etc!)
  17. Christmas Baubles (Please, not yet though!)
  18. Make Up Bag
  19. Gift Bag (I guard my Chanel and Ladurée bags with my life for blog photos!)
  20. Prints (Support your favourite designers and small business owners with some pretty prints!)

 

I hope that you found this useful, and if you have any other ideas for perfect blog photography feel free to leave them in the comments to help others!

 

Aileen x

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Ah, make up brushes; the tools of the trade! IndyLuxe are fast becoming a favourite amongst bloggers and animal lovers alike, and its plain to see why. These brushes are 100% cruelty-free and suitable for vegans. I’ll admit in my make up collection overhaul, it almost slipped my mind to replace my make up brushes with cruelty-free versions! A good set of brushes is a great investment for your make up bag as with a little TLC, make up brushes can last for years, although that said, I think I may invest in some of IndyLuxe’s other brush sets, too!

The 7pc Rose Gold Brush Set will set you back a mere £24*, making each brush just £3.43! Comprising of a stippling brush, powder brush, a fluffy blush brush, a fan brush, 2 eyeshadow brushes and an angled eye brush, this set has got you covered! The bristles are unbelievably soft! I’ve got to admit, when I first tore open the gold packaging I spent a good 10 minutes swishing away at my face with these and insisting everyone in my house also felt how soft they were!

Bloggers everywhere will know the struggle of having to wait to photograph your pretty new additions before you can actually crack on with enjoying them. Luckily, I got to spend the best part of my Saturday night faffing about with these brushes, creating killer smoky eyes and dazzlingly chiselled cheekbones, and then my plans got cancelled; LOL. The fan brush in particular stands out as my current favourite; a few little swishes create the most stunning highlight! Also the blending you can achieve with the fluffy eye brush is to die for, just saying.

What’s more is that IndyLuxe have been kind enough to provide me with a discount code so that all of you can enjoy 20% off their gorgeous brush sets!

Enter Code
AILEENMCCOLL20
at the checkout for 20% off!

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you all have a lovely rest of your day! x

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Thinking of starting your own fashion blog? Or maybe you’re suffering from some serious Bloggers’ Block and are totally stumped for what to post! Here’s 50 easy post ideas for some inspiration:

  1. Outfit Of The Day
  2. What’s In My Bag?
  3. One Item, 3 Styles
  4. Designer Inspired Pieces on the High Street
  5. Primark Haul!
  6. What’s On Your ASOS Wish List?
  7. New Season Trends
  8. How To Create Your Own Capsule Wardrobe
  9. Exploring Your Personal Style
  10. What To Wear To (Insert Occasion)
  11. Clothing DIYs
  12. Vintage / Charity Shop Finds
  13. Your Style Icons
  14. Gym / Active-wear Favourites
  15. Handbag Dupes / Comparisons
  16. Top 10 Wardrobe Staples
  17. Your Favourite Designer
  18. Best Sales & Discounts (I looove reading about what bargains people have found!)
  19. Festival Fashion
  20. Fashion Week / Shows
  21. Accessories to Dress Up An Outfit
  22. How To Take One Outfit From Day To Night
  23. Vintage Fayre’s (Lou Lou’s Vintage Fayre looks incredible!)
  24. Discover A New Boutique Store
  25. What’s In Your Wardrobe?
  26. Vlog Your Lastest Shopping Spree!
  27. Lookbooks
  28. Luxury Items You’re Saving For
  29. Fast Fashion – What Are Your Thoughts?
  30. Set Up A Depop Shop and Showcase Your Stock!
  31. Your Shoe Collection
  32. Your Handbag Collection
  33. A Timeless Piece In Your Wardrobe (that coat you wear year after year, or your favourite heeled boots!)
  34. Fashion Bloggers Who Inspire You
  35. How Your Style Has Changed Over The Years
  36. What To Pack For A Summer Holiday
  37. Student Fashion
  38. Student Lock-In Events! (If you’re a student, get yourself to one of these events and write about the deals you find!)
  39. An Outfit Inspired By Your Favourite Celebrity / Film Character etc.
  40. Fashion Photography Tips & Tricks
  41. Host A Giveaway!
  42. Shopping Challenge! (Take your best friend to the shopping centre and choose outfits for each other!)
  43. New Store Openings (Hellooo real life Missguided!)
  44. Tips for Shopping In A Particular City / Area (Brighton Lanes, Covent Garden, etc)
  45. How To Start A Fashion Blog!
  46. Gift Guides
  47. Interview A New Blogger / Designer etc
  48. ..or do Guest Posts on each others’ blogs!
  49. Transitional Fashion
  50. Style Diary (What I Wore On Holiday, or a week’s worth of work outfits!)

 

Hopefully this list helps you feel a bit more motivated when you feel you’ve got nothing to write about! It can be hard to constantly come up with new and innovative content, but in my opinion the best blogs are where the writer’s personality shines through. Your blog should be like your own personal style diary, a digital brain-dump for all your ideas and things that bring you joy! You can just tell when you’re reading a post that someone has poured their heart and soul into, and I think that is pretty wonderful.

 

Until next time!

Aileen x

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