DESTINATION CALIFORNIA

*PrettyLittleThing gifted the clothing pictured in this post

I’m stressed. But for once it’s the kind of stress I welcome to some degree, as in this particular case I know it will deliver something that will make me very happy, and goodness is that a long time coming.

I haven’t had a holiday in about 2 years now, and you can really tell. I feel like my evergreen worries, and the stress of my current but longstanding strained home/work environment is constantly etched on my face these days. Not just for these days though. If we’re honest, my brow is so deeply furrowed from my frequent expressions of concern and grumpiness, that botox is the only way I’ll be able to pretend the last few years haven’t taken it’s toll on my looks.

Why wait two years to get away from it all? Well, not distancing myself from all this isn’t a choice thing – a mixture of finances (or lack of), bad luck, and a relentless work schedule, has just continually pushed things back or made it hard to justify. I had a brief press trip to a soggy German Festival last year, and a less than 24 hr work trip to Paris, but an actual holiday of any kind has been completely elusive. We had a long weekend booked to somewhere in England last year, only to find out that we had been scammed, meaning we lost our money and our much needed break. I’ve had at least 4 very exotic press trips cancelled due to political or environmental reason, even a job which meant I was going to be working in the Maldives for 2 months disappeared suddenly. We also attempted a break to see Si’s sister in Devon, which was completely ruined by me getting a kidney infection. The stars just hadn’t aligned yet…..

It’s been really hard to be honest, mainly because of my situation being what it is, and regular private escapes being so very important to my mental health as well as mine and Si’s relationship.

Like I’ve said numerous times before, I am lucky to have been on as many holidays as I have. I am very privileged in that sense, but it does make the absence of it a bit harder, because you really know what you’re missing and how restorative and inspiring travel can be.

If you follow me on Instagram or via my vlogs you know I have been trying to save to ensure I can head to LA in August for our friends Ben and Jens wedding. Si has to be there as he is Ben’s best man (that means a speech, good luck Ben!), but I really wanted to find a way to be there with him and to join in with what will be a glorious love-fest, even if I’m at a point in my life where I can’t really justify such expenses.  But due to waiting for invoices to be paid (what’s new) and Si investing all his money into doing his first proper festival with his vegan stall, Nomads, we had no flights and no accommodation booked, even though it is two weeks before the time we had hoped to be heading to LA. Everyday I have been checking back on budget flight websites to see the amount of available ones drastically deplete, and the cost of each remaining seat hike up, knowing that I couldn’t do anything about it.

But this week I grafted hard, and brought in more work than I have in the last few months, managing to secure just enough to book our flights. Although I’m waiting on an e-ticket to be sent through and currently panic-ing that I might have used a dodgy third-party booking company that’s actually taken my money and made a run for it, I think we are a bit closer to making this dream of getting away a reality. Si also surpassed his target for takings at 2000 Trees festival, meaning he can not only pay off some of the debts accumulated from starting a brand new business, and buying all the equipment necessary, but have enough left over to fund his part of our stay in California.

While I can’t allow myself to get fully excited till my flights come through, and appear to look legit, I always find that a bit of holiday shopping really makes it all feel real. The preparation for new climates and locations just manages to get you feeling really excited about the impending adventures abroad, and your imminent tan. This is why it was particularly awesome when PrettyLittleThing asked if I’d like to pick out so summer bits from their Holiday Shop.

Usually we have such an abysmal summer here in the UK, a holiday in a hotter destination is the only way we get to wear our full on summer wardrobes, but this year we’ve been completely spoiled. It’s meant that these pieces have already gotten a lot of wear even before I’ve set foot on the plane to get the hell out of here. Before braving the desert heat of Joshua Tree they’ve already been to english country beer gardens, festivals and parks, and looked fab while doing so. The only problem with that though is that you lose that excitement you get when you get to wear your holiday clothes for the first time, on holiday. I’m a bit worried it’ll mean I’ll find an excuse to have a few more splurges before I go, just so I can give some more unworn items they inauguaral showcase in Cali. So PrettyLittleThing should expect to see my name pop up on a fair few more order forms via purchases in their holiday shop, or the festival one, which nails the kinda aesthetic I’m going for during our road trip stop-off points.

Even though for visual reasons I wanted to take pictures of my summer wardrobe whilst in the cinematic mecca of LA, I thought I’d show you them in their UK/home based location just in case any of you are just about to go and holiday, and looking to make some last minute purchases and wanting some inspo. So for the time being I hope these self taken timer shots in my garden will do the job.

So keep your fingers crossed that that stars finally align, but that the stripes join in too and deliver me the US holiday I’ve been yearning for.

GOING FOR GOLD

In the last year or two I’ve become completely obsessed with gold trinket and medallion style pendants and necklaces. I just love how the vivid gold pops against outfits, and manages to elevate minimalists looks in such a simple way. They also look particularly great against bronzed skin…something which I am currently working on thanks to some serious garden dwelling.  I’ve been wearing the Missoma one Si got me for Christmas every day since. But wearing slightly pricier jewellery has always made me feel a bit anxious, and apart from the lack of money to do buy more expensive options, one of the main reasons I have always worn affordable and high street jewellery or vintage pieces.

I get a bit worried when I go to a pool or spa, or even embark on my nightly baths, that I’m going to take it off and leave it on a side, that I’ll drop it down the plug hole, or that some chemicals in the water or massage oils are going to somehow ruin it.

So when I was browsing through the holiday shop on PrettyLittleThing and saw this multilayered gold necklace, I thought this would be a great option to have on my holiday. It would deliver the desired aesthetic without the stress that comes with wearing a luxury piece.

It’s a different gold to my Missoma piece, more of a creamy gold, and ultra shiny instead of the warm and slightly aged aesthetic of it’s pricer counterpart.

Worn with cream, white or black I think it can create a really lovely glam/boho look, but if you’re packing it for a trip away please ensure you have an anti tangle trick initiated or it’ll drive you insane!!

Talking of gold looking great with cream, this Plunge Tie Waist Blouse is one of those perfect summer pieces. Cheesecloth fabrics are perfect for the season, they feel light and airy on the skin, and their slightly creased texture instantly gives that effortless feel. I love the lattice detailing, and the fact you can change the overall look of your top half by changing up what you layer underneath. On this occasion I just put a black boob tube underneath as it was a scorching 30 degrees and I was just chilling in my garden in-between watching Wimbledon games and the World Cup.

BEANO BARDOT

I love anything striped. You guys know that by now. I think we all do – I’ve hardly made an innovative style choice here. But whether I’m going for a classic or norm-core look, with a simple breton in the classic nautical colour way, or a edgier combo that nods to grunge styling, I’m god damn obsessed. But this one is special – I have a huge array of colour ways and different tee shapes, but until this body from PrettyLittlething I was yet to have a bardot style striped top with statement bell sleeves.

Its ribbed, tight, but very stretchy,  which is exactly what you need from this sort of garment. Its stretchey enough for you to be able to fasten the buttons without pulling a muscle, stretches over your curves, but is tight enough that you’re not worried constantly about your boobs falling out.

One of the key design features that drew me to this particular top on the website was it’s long fluted sleeves. This little bit of ‘extra’ stops it from being just an everyday casual piece of clothing, and transforms it to something you can also dress up by teaming with a skirt and wearing it in the evenings with a choker.

STRAW IS THE LAW

This bag is the latest addition to my increasingly extensive straw bag collection, and the first one to veer away for the natural straw colour. This black dyed circular bag will quite literally go with everything because they’ve carefully made its straps and fastenings in a brown faux leather.

It’s surprisingly roomie in there too. I have been using it all week on my commutes to work evenings and screenings in London, as it’s big enough to fit both my cameras in it, as well as my phone, make up, oyster cards etc. I expect it’s going to get a lot of use during our trip to California, where I’ll no doubt have to look after Si’s everyday bits too…it’s in the girlfriend job description right?

This bag has also got an adorable blue and white striped lining inside too.

There’s nothing more annoying that a strap that isn’t quite the right length for you, bashing against parts of the body it shouldn’t be. I think we like to be able to casually rest out hands on the top of the bag as we walk. It’s always a massive plus point when a bag has an adjustable shoulder strap like this one does.

MUSTARD+FLORAL

Two of my go-to summer trends colliding in glorious Mamma Mia Fashion. The invite to the premiere said to dress for a summer soiree,  and as soon as this balloon sleeve swing dress  arrived I decided to save it’s first outing for a strut on the Blue carpet at the Hammersmith Apollo. I could instantly imagine this looking great contrast against the rustic white and blue buildings featured in the Abba-tastic hit movie franchise.

For these pictures I wore it in bardot off the shoulder style, but for the carpet I decided it was actually more flatting to have the sleeves pulled up falling from the top off the shoulder – but either way it’s great to have a dress that offers more than one way of wearing it, depending on how much flesh you feel like you want to show.

COLOURFUL WEAVES

This second bag is the perfect beach/holiday bag. Big enough to fit your towel, your book, your sunscreens, a coverup kaftan or t-shirt, plus all the other crap we seem to hide in our bags when we know we have the luxury of space – biscuits in my case.

The woven in stripes of colour are actually a lot more bright in person, the preset I use tends to make everything a bit muted, so it’s great for all those rainbow bright outfits you tend to wear more on holiday. Colourful clothes just look better when there’s white sands, blue waters and palm trees around, don’t they?!

My final piece from PrettyLittleThing is this Burnt Orange ribbed tie shoulder tortoise shell button down mini dress. It’s a super comfy dress that looks great with flat sandals during the day, but can be transformed to evening attire with the quick addition of a wedge or heeled sandal. I wore it to the IMAX screening of the new Mission Impossible movie this week, and it was so comfortable to wear. It really clings to the curves so make sure you’ve got your most discreet underwear on to minimise vpl action.

So I hope I’ve given you some solid summer fashion inspo there. Let me know which pieces you like the most! And wish me luck on booking the rest of our trip, me and my foggy brain are going to need it!

A huge thank you to Pretty Little Thing for gifting me these lovely pieces

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