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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

DIY: 4 projects for your to do list

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Now that I’m fully settled back into my academic course and Dundee, the way I spend my time has gradually moved from marathoning episodes of Teen Wolf to ward shifts and socialising (a.k.a. adult life). I do actually appreciate it, as I’m ready to start back at medicine and see friends again, but I forgot what it’s like having no time, at all. Still, even if I can’t find the time to actually do them I’ve been dreaming of all the new projects I want to start.

My recent DIY interests have tended a lot towards interior design, as I’m currently decorating my new flat and remembering that decorating is expensive. I collect knickknacks the same way other people breathe, but there’s a lot of empty wall space for someone who is too skint for the picture framers – I realized that I have quite a few rolls of electrical tape though, and wondered about making a mural out of it, maybe in the shape of a stag’s head or more abstract geometry like the above pre-made one from Urban Outfitters. I also recently got a new/second hand desk (thanks, Uncle John), which (having been reading The Interior DIYer’s post) I might cover with some contact paper so it better matches the furniture the flat came with; contact paper and electrical tape are both perfect DIY tools for the renter, as they won't mark and can be changed whenever I feel like an update.

It’s probably no surprise that I own a couple of veils already, but it probably is that I don’t own a true bird cage one – I really like the vintage feel they lend to all outfits, but all of mine are actually attached to hats. Most DIYs I’ve found for this are on wedding blogs like this double clipped version, but you’d better believe that mine is going to be black and firmly everyday wear. For the coming months, I actually really like this vintage babushka pattern, but I’m so woefully inept at knitting I feel like it might be a daydream project for now. Experienced knitters, any advice? 

Is anyone else looking forward to future DIY projects? Can anyone train me up in knitting, please? Hopefully I'll be posting all my projects on instagram when I finish, so keep an eye for them on there! 


Friday, 5 August 2016

STYLE: Sportswear Elegance

When it first came around I swore to high heaven that I didn't get athleisure, in the same way that I didn't get normcore or why some people really love putting olives in their mouths. I liked it on other people certainly (Ivania Carpio of LOVE AESTHETICS comes to mind), but I always thought that I just didn't do the kind of casual that it seems to embody. However, it somehow managed to slink into my wardrobe nonetheless, the same way brothel creepers, 90s looks, and all those other trends I swore that I'd never wear did.

It started off when I decided to get my exercise by walking to university everyday, a 40 minute trek which my usual boots and brogues rapidly proved not to be up to the challenge of. Enter a pair of innocent looking sketchers, black and white to match the rest of my wardrobe. I started to like the unexpected twist they added to my outfits, and they made me think of health goth trends as well as  some of Rick Owens' stuff. It's definitely goth if it looks like Rick Owens, right? (I was already weakening.)

The second nail in the coffin came in the form of a bomber jacket which my local swing dance society started selling back in spring. I'm not usually one for screen-printed merchandise, but it was retro, non-threatening, and displayed a little society pride. What harm could it do?

I ended up wearing it everywhere for about two weeks straight. Turns out sport influences can get dangerously addictive.

This recent change of heart also has a more practical benefit; I'm constantly on the go, and sportswear as everyday wear means the way I dress matches my lifestyle. Obviously I can't totally cut out the overdresser in me, and I got this dress in a New Look sale about a year ago and first wore it with these trainers for dinner in Budapest, adding the jacket when I got back. It's got some strong Bardot vibes, which call for cat's eyes, but paring it with trainers means I can wear it more casually (and thus more often, the goal of everyone who doesn't like cutting down on clothes).  Remember the awkward days when I used to wear Victoriana casually? God, me neither.


I know that this isn't s relevant to the topic of the post, but I'd like to say thanks to those of you who commented on my last post about my difficulties with blogging. It was touching knowing that people out there are willing to stick with my online exercise in vanity through thick and thin, and just getting it out there got a lot of my frustrations off my chest. 

Anyway, with that said, is anyone else liking the athleisure trend? Has anyone tried something that they didn't originally like and change their mind? Let me know below!


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

BLOGGING: Managing frustration and burnout

This post should have been out a week ago. It also should have been about what I've been doing this summer, and maybe been done in enough time for proof reading and editing. 

Unfortunately, as is pretty obvious I've been struggling with making time for writing recently - a florid combination of university, socializing, and fatigue has near on obliterated any timetable space for this blog. On top of that has been a lot of frustration and discontent sapping my love of blogging; a mix of reasons are behind those feelings, but it wasn't going away no matter how much time I had. And I figured given it's showing, I might as well talk about it. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?

Try as I might, sticking to a posting schedule has been really hard this year - it seems stupid and over-dramatic to talk about burnout with what is essentially a hobby with benefits for me, but I do miss what posting on An Honest Drug was for me in the past. You can read all the inspiration prompts and blogging resources you like, but if you're not in the right head space writing is just not going to happen. (Which isn't to say that you can't learn writing discipline, or train yourself into the right head space - just that it's difficult when there's already a lot of demotivating influences.)

"You can read all the inspiration prompts and blogging resources you like, but if you're not in the right head space writing is just not going to happen."

Some of that has been feelings of inadequacy compared with other bloggers - with everyone monetizing standards have skyrocketed, and as someone who does it in their free time that's hard to compete with. I've posted before about some of the camera troubles I've been facing, and whatever the recommended post frequency is I probably can't do it. Comparing yourself against others is never a good idea, but it's really hard when you've already noticed your own shortcomings. I've also been feeling like my blog isn't representing me, and I'm not actually sure what I want to write about now - combine all of the above with a rapidly changing personal style, bake for several months, and you have a recipe for existential writing angst. 

So how do you deal with that? I know that taking a break is generally advocated for this, and has worked for me before, but I'm tired of staying away from my blog. Giving myself deadlines and hoping it trains me into sticking to them... is clearly a terrible strategy. No, this is a more multi-faceted problem, and I've been looking at how I can make more room in my life as well as what I like writing about (and whether some of that belongs here, or in a separate place. But you didn't hear that from me). Learning to be accepting of what I'm capable of is a hard lesson (even posting this was difficult) but viewing my efforts as more of a stepping stone to something better helps me accept what they are currently. And I guess that accepting this - that I have limitations and fluctuations - is really the most important part. From there, I can start thinking bigger, and better.

Has anyone else experienced burnout with a hobby? What do you you use to get your writing urge back again? I'd really love to know, so please let me know below!


Thursday, 30 June 2016

TRAVEL: Budapest

If my trip to Barcelona last year was defined by the value Catalonians place on their art, then visiting Budapest showed how Hungary can exemplify the best of grandeur and grassroots, and seamlessly integrate both into daily life. With pubs in the middle of ruined buildings a block across from the gilt and splendour of the most beautiful cafe in the world, although its recovery from the past is slow it feels like nothing can stop Budapest flowering for long.

I spent four days and four nights just soaking the place up; it's my first visit to central Europe and it has a very different vibe from the Mediterranean. Though I found that really difficult to get used to initially, I pretty quickly fell in love - Budapest has the extensive and detailed history that is characteristic of the area, and I split my days learning about it in the day then visiting the ruin bars in the evening.

Depressing as it was to return to the real world and wake up to news of a Brexit, I'm really keen to try the rest of the Hapsburg triumverate soon (regardless of whether I'm going to need a visa or not).

Has anyone else been away recently? What's happening in everyone's lives? I've been sleeping enough for three after graduating and moving out and finishing work all in the one week, but I want to know what everyone else is doing!


Thursday, 9 June 2016

DIY: Free printable week planner

If anyone of my readers met me in real life, you'd be surprised by how much of a train wreck I am; I regularly forget important things to do, make myself late, and double book myself constantly. I've got better over the years, but a lot of the classic organisational methods don't work for me; planners sit unused, and you can't make me remember to fill out calendars regularly.

The method I've had most success with over the past year is making an editable combined day schedule/to do list in the notes on my phone, which seems to work purely because how little effort goes into it. I decided however that it's maybe time to take this into the real world, and sat down one afternoon to whip up a week time planner that suited me - and given I know (hope) I'm not the only disorganized mess out there, decided to share it with everyone else.

In it, I've included the working days of the week, two 'to-do' lists (urgent and normal), and a space for doodling - because what's a planner that doesn't encourage creativity? The layout is minimal enough that you can make of it what you will, and not feel to constrained.

Like to download? You can find it in this drop box folder by clicking the image below - just make sure to credit me if you want to recommend it to others!

Does anyone else struggle with forcing themselves to stay organized? What methods do you use? Let me know in the comments below!


Thursday, 19 May 2016

STYLE: Work to Play

My time whilst at uni can grossly be split into two main areas - working, and dancing. As a medical student with the expectation of dressing professionally several days a week, I've never really fallen into the classic student trap of t-shirts and jogging bottoms - which is unfortunate sometimes, but does mean I put more effort into what I wear.

I usually don't have the time to change from smarter day wear into dance appropriate clothes, but it's never really been an issue; there's a lot of common ground between my vintage inspired work wardrobe and my 1940s swing looks, so changing up the accessories is all it takes. I've worn this look several times already to the new summer job I've just started (usually with a full vest underneath), and it's been a staple for dancing for ages now. Both the shoes and the shorts were found totally by chance in two separate sales, and the whole thing definitely nods towards my interests in the early 20th century without being too much for for the work environment.

Apologies for the slight lateness of this post - what with the post-dissertation crash and fresh employment, if I'm honest I'm feeling pretty wiped out right now. As great as it is to post weekly, I think a two week schedule is more reasonable for me - therefore, An Honest Drug will now be posting fortnightly.

How do you guys deal with work to play transitions? Have you found anything in the sales recently? Let me know below!