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So, as many of you may know, I’ve spent my summer writing an MA dissertation about Tinder. Yes, Tinder.  I definitely had not planned to spend a summer after having broken up with a boyfriend (sorry, I promise this won’t turn into some sort of DMC) thinking and writing about other peoples love lives but in retrospect its actually been quite therapeutic and has given me an interesting insight into how other people my age go about finding love or just a bit of fun.  These days, we’re all so glued to our phones (I sleep with mine IN my bed) that it almost seems like a natural progression to start finding our next love/bed warmer/flirtexter (I’ve just coined that phrase, I’m well aware it won’t take on) inbetween obsessively checking Twitter, Instagram and chatting aimlessly to Siri.

Having spent hours in the library pouring over my research, I thought I’d share some of my wisdom with the masses (or just the few people that occasionally read this blog including my dad, just a heads up, this probably isn’t one to send onto grandma), so here we go:

– The first thing that emerged throughout my research was the variety of intentions with which people are using the app.  From looking for a long-term partner to purely using it to take the piss out of others at pre-drinks, there really are as many different intentions as there are users.  While it is hard to gauge intentions from someones profile, I’d say as a hard and fast rule, if a guys profile is just a picture of his goolies, hes probably not looking to settle down just yet.  But, you know, thats just my opinion.  My advice?  Don’t invest yourself fully in the idea that you’ll find your future husband/wife on Tinder, instead use it for casual dating or for a bit of an ego boost.

– Tinder is co-situational in nature so if you’re looking for a night out with a bit of footsie, most people don’t want to travel more than 30KM so make that your maximum distance setting.  If you are willing to travel the full 160KM to find someone, well...I think you should start reevaluating your priorities.  

Looks ARE everything (well on Tinder at least).  This app is a glorified Hot or Not game, so be warned, you’re going to be judged almost solely on your looks.  If you’re not comfortable with that, then just take the high road and bypass this fad.  Just remember ladies, we all thought Christian Bale in American Psycho was fit until it turned out he was a murderous arsehole.

– On that note, we all know that the secret to a good profile is to show off our good side and choose pictures which make us look like we’re desirable little mother fuckers.  BUT as tempting as it is to upload that picture of you from three years ago where you had a really fucking great tan and were skinny as hell because you’d just been to Zante for two weeks and had a dodgy tummy for the whole time you were there, those pictures might be a little misleading.  Try limit yourself to pictures which were taken in the last year (or even better, 6 months) and which are representative of yourself now.  If you’re not quite sure what you look like now or you have a sneaking suspicion that the mirror is lying to you, then ask a friend to have a check over your pictures because the punishment for misleading photos is for all contact to be severed and then you’ll have to make up a story as to why you and that fit guy from Tinder never went on a second date.

– Everyone loves a group photo.  Its the start of the night and you’ve all just had your first glass of wine, your makeup isn’t smeared, your eyes aren’t glassy yet and you all want to show off how many friends you have and how great they are!  YAY GIRLS NIGHT!  While you should probably include one group photo on your profile, don’t put it as your first photo as most people frankly can’t be arsed working out which one you are.

Pouty duckface.  We all know what I’m talking about.  Yes it brings out those barely there cheek bones, but its also really weird when you think about it.  What situation was she in for that expression to happen?  Is she happy/sad/constipated?  Is she okay?  Those are the questions a prospective match is going to be asking when he stumbles on your profile with all six of your photos looking like you’re mid-charades pose.  If you’re a serial duckface puller you may need to reconsider a lot more than just your profile pictures.  

– I’ve not updated my Facebook interests since I was about 14 and as a consequence, I am apparently a fan of such things as ‘dressing up as a seagull and walking around stealing peoples chips’ (something I have never done), ‘ditching your mates to hang out with your goat’ (don’t own a goat, but this is probably something I would do) and ‘going out and getting absolutely Charlie Sheened’ (I just sound like an absolute twat).  So although Tinder has an ‘interests’ section downloaded from Facebook, you probably don’t want to get too excited if you and this random man share ‘being a mac daddy pimp’ (another one of my ‘likes’) in common.  While they may not be too useful in actually gauging what kind of person this match is, they are a good first liner so at least theres that.  

– To bio or not to bio, that is the question.  While most online dating sites like Match.com get you to go through the whole convoluted process of writing out a bio where you’re forced to make yourself sound like you’re really bloody nice, when in reality you’ve got a perennial case of bitchy resting face as bad as Aubrey Plaza’s, Tinder lets you decide whether you want to warble on about yourself or not.  Keep it short and sweet and try to steer clear of cliches as no one actually wants a man who likes ‘long walks on the beach’ because they all sound like massive wetties.

– Also on the subject of bios, if you’re upwards of 15 years old and still typing in text speak, well just good luck with that.  

– A picture really can speak a thousand words on Tinder.  If you’re making claims in your bio that you love to try new things, you party as hard as Prince Harry in Vegas or that you found yourself while travelling to the inner most depths of the Amazonian jungle, then why don’t you prove it with a few pictures.  Bonus points if you are actually Prince Harry.

– So you’ve matched with someone, you’ve chatted a bit and you’re starting to think that you would quite like to meet this person face-to-face, but beforehand you’re going to do what any 90s kid would do in this situation and Internet stalk them.  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great places to gather information about someone and to check they really are who they say they are and most Tinderers admitted to having a snoop at others from the app, so you’re in good company.  Just be aware that if you’re having a snoop, others will be looking at you too, so if you’re not too enthused by that idea, make things private.  If you don’t give a flying fuck who sees that you Instagrammed a picture of you gorging on Dominos yesterday with one of your fake eyelashes falling off or tweeted an inspirational quote which may or may not have made you cry, then why not help your prospective stalkers along and put your social media handles in your bio.

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Just an example of the type of moronic pictures which I put on Instagram.  I barely spent any time in this pool because I WAS WRITING THIS DISSERTATION.  

– And lastly, ladies, a word of warning.  Do not treat the above behaviour as an issue of ensuring your ‘personal safety’.  Now, I don’t know about you but if I was a serial murderer, I probably wouldn’t have the twitter handle @ImGoingToSkinYouAlive or Instagram images of dark parks with the hashtag #MyKillingSpot so please please please do not think you can judge whether a person is capable of such things over social media.  We’re all presenting a front on here, whether we like to admit it or not.  I for one don’t post pictures of myself in the library on Instagram, even though this would be far more representative of my life than the 1% of the time that I spend on beaches but just happen to photograph.  Make sure you meet your date in a public place with plenty of people around, that you tell multiple people where you are going and with who and that you have your phone on you with full battery.  Also if you can, ask a friend to be on hand to pick you up and drop you off, firstly because then they at least know you got home safe, but secondly, because then you can tell them all the weird stuff your date inevitably did.  Lads, take this all into account as well, us ladies can be weird, wonderful and slightly psychotic at times.  

If you’re using Tinder, chances are you’re probably not looking for the next big love of your life, but just a bit of fun and a few nights out, so you may scoff at my advice, but you never know so keep your options open.  As for me, I think I’ll stick to the good old fashioned way and just wait for some poor unsuspecting fool to lower their standards and start feeling lonely and vulnerable and then swoop in.  60% of the time, it works everytime.  

Let me know if you agree/disagree/have anything else to add or just generally want to swap some stories.  

(P.S. I also want to add that I’m extremely grateful to all of you who took part in the research process!  I had an overwhelming response to the survey portion of my project and interviewed some great people who were more than willing to share their experiences on the app honestly and openly, which just made the whole process so much easier than what it could have been.  I’d defo swipe right for you all x) 

After a short but sweet trip to London a couple of weeks ago, I jumped on a flight to Tampa, Florida for a little R&R with the parents.  My family and I have been to Florida quite a few times over the years, as well as the frequent trips to Disney World – I last went when I was 19 and I’m itching to go again – we’ve travelled South many times to scope out beaches, eat our weight in seafood and keep watch for the elusive dolphins that dip and dive below the waves.

While we hadn’t been to Naples since I was 4, our last trip was very memorable to me as it ended up with the family floating in a car in the aftermath of a tropical storm, an incident which I only have fond memories of weirdly enough.  As my dad is a creature of habit, we returned to the same hotel on the shoreline of Naples beach and spent 10 days relaxing in the scorching hot sun, only to be moved off our sun beds by the occasional thunder storm.

While this was definitely a relaxing holiday, I still had my dissertation to focus on so spent late afternoons and evenings concentrating on my work in my room while wrapped in a hotel dressing gown munching on pillow chocolates.  The Suite Life.  

I didn’t really take too many photos as my camera managed to conk out half way through the holiday and also, it would have just been a whole camera stream of hot dog/legs by the pool and who really needs those anyway?!  So I thought I’d just put this one of the beautiful sunset on here and you can check out a few more on my Instagram.

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As well as sunbathing, I ate oysters by the bucketload, had a hot stone massage, got soaked a couple of times by the torrential downpours that anyone who has visited the State will be familiar with, peered over fences into some of Naples most outrageously huge homes, got some amazing bargains at Nordstroms, watched some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen and even bumped into an old friend from travelling!

One of the best things about the holiday was undoubtedly the location of the hotel.  Perched on Naples beach which goes on for as long as the eye can see, its the perfect place for a bit of dolphin spotting.  I took to getting my feet wet and swimming in the warm water out to a little sandbank everyday where I quite regularly saw the tell tale fins of a few Flippers as they effortlessly swam past.  As fun as it is to go to Seaworld, (well until you’ve watched Blackfish anyway) its always more enchanting to see animals in the wild where their appearance isn’t guaranteed.  Here our finned friends have a large expanse to wander over rather than just a minute pool  which they’re confined to day in and day out.  While I managed to spot quite a few dolphins, my dad wasn’t so lucky and even though he tried, he kept missing them, which I think is just another excuse to go back to our little slice of heaven in Florida, perhaps with a little visit to our old friends Mickey and Minnie next time as well…

I think this holiday has been one of the best and while I now have returned to the real world, atleast I’m be sporting a tan!

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After spending a few days in Ibiza post-Graduation, I headed to my boyfriend’s house for a bit of Northern hospitality.

After reluctantly watching the Ashes for a day – believe me, this wasn’t my choice – I managed to convince Ross to swap the sofa for the hills and head to the nearby Lake District for a bit of exercise and fresh air.

I switched my sandy flip flops for hiking boots and cocktail for a bottle of water before we headed towards the picturesque village of Coniston just West of Windermere.  We set our sights for a lake up the Old Man of Coniston, a mountain which on arrival seemed to be a optimistic target for the hottest day of the year when I was still experiencing a post-Ibiza lull.

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But after only an hour and a half of walking where we made a few friends along the way, we reached a beautiful crystal lake with only a couple of other (more seasoned) hikers as company.  We set up camp and ate our picnic of sandwiches (or butty’s as Ross would say) and took in the spectacular view.

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Ross tried to teach me to skip stones…it didn’t work…but he enjoyed it anyway.

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The views on the walk back were equally as breathtaking and cemented in my mind that I need to make a repeat visit to stay in one of the many B&B’s in the area so we can enjoy more of the lakes.

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If you’re looking to visit then check out the Lake’s tourism website here and make sure to pack your walking boots!

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After three quick years at the University of Reading, I graduated on the 4th of July with a 2.1 in English Literature and History.  As well as being a bit of a tear jerker (sentimental moments get me teary) it was also, admittedly, a day of fine dining with a bit of booze thrown in there for good measure.

I had chosen to wear a French Connection dress to the ceremony (which is now in the sale!) accessorised with a Michael Kors watch, some Swarovski rings which my housemates gave me on my 21st birthday, my Chanel bag and my lovely Louboutins, whose stiletto heels were perhaps not the best thing in the grass but nevertheless got me a few compliments!

Looking back on the day now, it’s a blur of photographs, sweaty palms and the feeling of relief after having not tripped up infront of the huge hall full of people – something I maintain is my greatest achievement to date, nevermind the degree – but one thing I can clearly remember is the food.

As a foodie at heart, I had put more thought into where my family and I should dine on the evening of my graduation than even revising for some of my exams but ultimately I left the decision up to my dad, the senior foodie of the family.  After consulting some in-the-know friends he booked The Forbury’s restaurant in Reading – not to be confused with The Forbury Hotel’s restaurant Cerise.  

After generously filling our wine glasses, we all got down to the serious business of ordering our food.  I’m one of those sad people who will obsessively check a menu online before venturing inside any restaurant, but on this occasion I’d been too busy in Newcastle sans internet to plan my meal – a travesty.  

After asking everyone round the table what they were planning to have at least twice, I opted for the Hand Dived Scallops served with a Pea Puree and Black Pudding for my starter and the Fillet of Angus Beef (medium rare of course) with Duck Fat chips, Onion Rings and Cherry Tomatos.  I can vouch that both were absolutely delicious, with the scallops being the best I’ve ever had (a huge claim for a scallop addict) and the steak being cooked to perfection.

By dessert time, my poor dress was probably feeling the strain, but Ross and I decided that we could both stretch to dessert and shared our first ever Bourbon Creme Brulee with a ShortCake Biscuit.  I’m more of a starter and main fan, mostly because I always fall foul of the ‘eyes too big for my stomach’ curse and don’t survive to the third round but I’d always coveted the crack of a Creme Brulee so loosened my hypothetical belt and tucked in.  I am now 100% a dessert convert and will be making room for some more sweet treats in the future whilst also renewing my gym membership ASAP.

This coming September I’ll be heading up North to study a Masters at the University of Newcastle so expect a Graduation 2.0 post in a year’s time!

If you’re graduating this summer, first of all GOOD LUCK (try not to trip!) and second, enjoy every second!

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When eagerly typing away at my UCAS application form for a multitude of different Universities and a random array of degrees (zoology anyone?) I have to say, my mind was perhaps less on the books and more on the endless amounts of going out/drinking/hooliganism which seems to be the popular stereotype of the University student life given by many teachers/parents and disillusioned adults.  My Freshers year did not disappoint and I certainly spent more time in clubs than I did lectures, however, third year has now beckoned and I spend more hours than I care to count lugging around a copious amount of hardback books by historians whose surnames I cannot pronounce.  As exams and dissertation deadlines approach, the library is the new place to be.  Discussing what work we’re going to do has taken over wildly discussing what outfits we’re going to wear and what pre-drinks we’re going to go to.  I’m perhaps exaggerating here, we do still enjoy nights out, but they are then succeeded by a days worth of regret where we’re all fully aware that the amount of work we’ve missed out on because of a hangover will only loom over us tomorrow.

Through my extensive experience of the University of Reading’s library, I have come up with a sort of guide of library etiquette and life for prospective students who are currently eagerly awaiting their A Level exams and madly revising to get into their desired university course.  Take note:

– My uni library is about 200 times bigger than my one back at home (I do live on Guernsey though) so if you’re keen not to get lost and possibly spend the end of your days in the chemistry section then take a quick half hour library lesson which will be offered to you in your Freshers Fortnight.  These are boring but could potentially be lifesaving.  

– In your first year at uni you will be given a lot of assignments to simultaneously juggle, however, for the sake of your own life, do not loudly complain about your workload infront of a third year whose only 100 words into their essay – you may fall victim to a burntout student.

– Making unadvisable financial decisions happens to every single one of us.  A week spent in the library will impact your bank balance significantly.  Tickets to see One Direction? Yep. Chico’s complete collection of songs?  Of course.  eBay purchased tshirt with Keith Lemon’s face on it?  Why not?! 

– A friend making a passing reference to Nandos/the Fair/River Island’s sale/Alton Towers/New Zealand will result in you being there an hour later.  It happens.  

– The library is possibly not the best place to have a nap – you will find a picture of yourself dribbling on your books being circulated on a Facebook page built to embarrass those who have fallen foul of the library.

– If you discuss your boyfriend troubles in the library you will find people eavesdropping and they will be recounting the story later to their friends.  Beware.  

– Throughout your university career you will find yourself giving nicknames to people who you don’t know, but frequent the computer room e.g. Running Girl

– Spending more than 5 hours straight in the lib is probably detrimental to your health.  When you find yourself enthusiastically humming along to any 5ive song while obsessively googling all of the girls from Teen Mom then you should probably have a break.

– You will sample every single food outlet on campus – sign up to the gym ASAP. If you’re campus has pick a mix then you’re definitely in danger.

– Power sockets are like gold dust in the library so guard it with your life.

– Unfortunately uni libraries are not like those in Hogwarts and you cannot simply shout ACCIO BOOK to find that pesky Tolstoy novel.  Get a friend to show you how to find books/journals/periodicals, then treat it like a game of hide and seek.

– You will see a multitude of weird things in the library – people drinking 4 pints of milk, someone flat out snoring whilst another person lights up a cigarette on the third floor, a group of giggling girls drinking vodka before heading to the Union and even an adventurous couple trying to have an intimate moment in a private study area.  Be prepared.

– It’s your first term at Uni and you’re desperate to impress, but wearing 7 inch heels to the library won’t give you the best reputation.  Swap your Loubs for some Nike Blazers and that catsuit for some American Apparel leggings.   

– Hysterically laughing at a funny cat video in a quiet area of the lib will annoy other people, but do it anyway, you rebel.

– Yes, everyone can tell you have a hangover. 

– Watching soft porn in the library probably isn’t the best idea, even if it is for your Art course.

– Smuggling food into the library will end up becoming like a military operation.  Also you will get told off multiple times but will never learn, we all have our vices.  

– PDA in the library is 99% of the time cringey.

– The library has its own microclimate, so if it’s boiling outside and you’re wearing nothing but a string bikini, you may want to pack a Christmas jumper if you’re going to spend your day inside.

– Getting out every single book on your courses reading list will get you a few enemies and someone will call you out on it in a lecture – I’ve seen it happen and it was awkward.  

– You will google things you hadn’t even imagined in your wildest dreams.  Procrastination is the biggest enemy of a keen library goer.  I spent my mornings surveying a mix of the DailyMail, Topshop, Zara, Net-a-Porters, Selfridges, Easyjet (I planned a full trip to Marrakech today, hotels, day trips and all), SeeTickets, ASOS (for his and hers), Amazon, and the list goes on and on.  

– You’ll be able to add Funny Cats Video Expert on your CV post degree.

– Yes you’re now a sophisticated university student but you’ll still find yourself sniggering at artistic naked portraits of people in old books.  You’re not quite an adult yet.

In all honesty, I’m pretty jealous of all the 18 year olds who still have the excitement of Freshers year to come!  Make the most of it while you can!

JKA x

Last night, my housemates and I experienced one of the most eventful nights of our lives.  Following a night out we returned home and all swiftly fell into an alcohol induced deep sleep, only for the fun to begin while we slumbered.   At around half 6 in the morning (a time I haven’t seen for years) our fire alarms started ringing incessantly.  I was roused only by one of the girls bursting into my room to inform me of the emergency, and rapidly threw on a mismatched outfit.  In a blind panic, thought that I should probably save something from the fire, as all my possessions were about to go up in flames.  

Once the fire brigade had established that this cloud of smoke was actually not from a real life fire but from a novelty smoke bomb instead (thanks boys, you know who you are) I realised that I was clutching what is presumably my most precious belonging.  In the heat of the moment (like the pun?) I had picked up…my Mulberry bag.  

I had left my clothes, laptop (with my dissertation on) and photographs to burn and become ashes, and had instead thought that my bag, empty as it was, was the only thing worth keeping!  I’m going to blame this particularly bad decision on alcohol and take it as a lesson, as much as I do love my bag, if – god forbid – I am ever caught in another house fire (or similar prank induced incident) I will be grabbing more sentimental items and maybe using my bag as a carrier instead of the sole item.  For convenience of course.  

For now, it seems I am a material girl through and through.

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Everyone remember to check your fire alarms work and thank you to all those who helped in our hysteria!

JKA x

I hope you all had a wonderful night celebrating the coming of 2013 and the next year brings you happiness, health and good style (I feel a bit like a fortune cookie)!  

Happy New Year!

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JKA x


We’ll soon be saying goodbye to the old friend that is 2012 and saying hello to 2013 (doesn’t have the same ring does it?)

A few of my personal highlights of this incredible year have been; The London 2012 Olympics (aka, an excuse to stare at Tom Daley in speedos), The Diamond Jubilee and Boris Johnson trapped on a zip wire (by far the best news story of the year).

There is much to look forward to for 2013, both personally for me and for everyone else!  Here’s a quick look at some of the most eagerly anticipated events of the next year:

– Michelle Obama’s inaugural style – The world has always had an obsession with the US First Lady and MObama is no different.  Michelle’s 2009 inaugural dress, designed by Jason Wu catapulted the little-known Chinese American designer and Mrs. Obama herself onto the global style sphere.  The Ball is set for 21 January 2013 and all eyes will be on Michelle and her dress, as she shares her first dance with her newly re-elected husband.  

– The View from the Shard – The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe, standing at an impressive 1016ft high and The View from the Shard promises to give an incredible 360 degree glimpse of the capital city.  The experience opens on the 1st of February 2013 and tickets can be purchased for around £25 online.

– The Book of Mormon – The brainchild of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone will soon be gracing the Prince of Wales theatre stage in London.  This highly successful musical took Broadway by storm and has won 9 Tony Awards and a Grammy, can’t argue with that!  Prepare to be hilariously offended and shocked by this satirical musical from March 2013 onwards.

– The Great Gatsby – My favourite book of all time is being given another film version, (check out the version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow for some movie magic) this time directed by the fantastical Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!).  With some of the best casting ever seen (Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy) this is a sure fire hit.  The incredible trailers give an insight into Mulligan’s vintage Prada and Miu Miu wardrobe and make me want to throw away all my uni work and reread F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel until the premier of the film.  Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, was nicknamed the ‘First American Flapper’ so look out for the style which she made popular making a comeback to coincide with the film’s May 2013 release.

– Alexander Wang & Balenciaga – Wang was recently announced the new creative director of Paris fashion house, Balenciaga, and the whole fashion world is waiting with bated breath to see what he’s going to come up with.  Wang has created sportswear-esque outfits for his eponymous line while Balenciaga is known for its avant-garde pieces.  All eyes will be on his debut show.

– Monochrome – Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Topshop Unique and Alexander Wang all presented monochrome centred shows for Spring 2013.  Expect stripes galore and cut out sections (a la Wang) to come into vogue.  So raid your cupboard, ebay and the highstreet for some black and white ensembles in preparation for this upcoming trend!

– A Royal baby is born – Can anyone else contain their excitement?! Because I can’t!  Boy? Girl? TWINS?!  It’s still a mystery as to what gender baby Kate is carrying and probably will be until the day of the birth but that doesn’t stop me from decorating my room in all things Union Jack in preparation for a massive blighty styled celebration.  Drinks at the ready!

– Watery Abyss – Since researchers at the University of Sussex discovered that blue is the go to colour for happiness, I’m even more in love with this watery themed trend.  Proenza Schouler presented a Spring/Summer 2013 dress which used a photo print of families playing in a pool while another, equally stylish dress, showed a beach scene.  Charlotte Ronson, Michael Kors and Donna Karen followed suit with the water theme; imagine rippling blue prints and fluid fabrics for that instant wave of happiness.

– Highstreet collaborations – The Highstreet Collaboration has now become old hat.  This past year has seen H&M collaborate with Maison Martin Margiela and Topshop with J.W. Anderson.  Rumours have already started circulating about a Givenchy/H&M deal but not confirmed (please be true), lets hope 2013 is as stellar as its predecessor.

– Statement Sunnies – Anna Sui’s Spring 2013 show showcased some sunnies which made me coo with excitement.  The louder, the better.  Head to net-a-porter.co.uk and check out Illesteva for some rounded pastel coloured lenses or google the brilliant Henry Holland, whose kooky designs are perfect for this season.

2013 is shaping up to be a good year, so grab yourself some champagne and lets toast!

Happy New Year from JKA x

 New Year Resolutions have a bad rep.  

I said in a previous blog that I was making some in preparation to break them and a lot of the time my past resolutions have fallen by the wayside; hopelessly unfulfilled.  

However, as always, I have promised myself this year will be different and perhaps by putting my resolutions in writing and available to the masses I will be forced to stand by them.  So here they are:

1.  Eat healthily – I’m not a fan of the ‘lose weight’ resolution, as I find it vague (how exactly am I proposing to lose weight?) and as soon as I step on a scales with no success I quickly abandon this resolution and head weeping to the cakes cupboard in my house.  While choosing some of the pictures which sum up my year, I just knew I had to put in the one of Dairy Milk Oreo, this was a testament to my love of chocolate and all things sweet and prompted me to champion healthy eating.  My one big vice is drinking Coke, so I will slowly be weening myself off while swapping Ben & Jerry’s for a healthy yoghurt, McDonalds for nutritious salads and library snacks with a medley of fruits- God forbid. 

2.  Run more – I have never been a runner, secondary school was spent trying to think of innovative excuses as to why I couldn’t participate in the horrendous annual cross country (my dog ate my PE kit?)  My legs swing in all sorts of directions while running and I frequently fall over (picture Bambi on a treadmill) however, I’ve always been slightly jealous of the people I see confidently jogging along the side of a road while, I imagine, listening to some motivational songs.  So this year, I propose that I will become a fully fledged road runner.  Rio 2016 anyone?

3.  Say YES more – I perhaps won’t go as far as Jim Carrey in the hilarious film Yes Man but I do plan to embrace the affirmative more often!  Spontaneous night out, yes.  Sky dive, yes.  Travelling, yes! Marmite? No…thats still a no.  

4.  Read all the Harry Potter books again – doing English and History at university gives me little chance to read something I actually want to read (yes, believe it or not, I did not read Moby Dick by my own accord).  So when I finally graduate in June ’13, I plan to buy myself a libraries worth of books to read and to also revisit the ones which I loved dearly during my earlier years, particularly the Harry Potter books.  It’ll be an excuse to visit the Making of the Harry Potter studios in Watford!

5.  Save for something – I love the satisfaction of knowing I paid for this.  The Bank of Mum & Dad will soon be closed to my greedy clutches and I will have to fend for myself in the big wide, expensive world, so learning to save for covetable goods is good practise for this.  I have yet to decide what to save for, but I’m sure it’ll take the shape of either a bag (of pick a mix, if I spend all my money by accident), a watch or some other golden accessory.  Watch this space.

Hopefully I will be able to stick by these resolutions better than I have in previous years and maybe you’ll see me, running past you, banana and new purse in hand, reciting chapters from Harry Potter and screaming a big fat YES to any challenge that comes my way.  Cheesy, I know.  

JKA x

WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 14

The other day, I went to a cafe on University for some lunch (jacket potato with cheese and ham) and encountered a massive blow up Father Christmas.  Here’s the picture for evidence:

Image

This chance meeting with the huge Santa reminded me of years of sitting on his knee as a child and telling him what I would like for Christmas.  Looking back, I don’t think I utilised these meetings enough, why didn’t I ask Father Christmas the big questions, the questions everyone wants to know the answer for.  This got me thinking, if I were to meet the real Saint Nicholas today, what would I ask him?  Where would we go for lunch?  What would he be wearing?

I imagine we’d sit in my mothers kitchen for a roast and some drinks after.  He’d be wearing his classic red outfit while I’d be wearing a christmas jumper, reindeer ears, and christmas themed earrings which would flash, just to show him I really was a massive fan.

Now, I have an endless list of questions, here are some of them:

Did you really buy me all those presents throughout the years?  Did you receive my Christmas list letters in the post (I always thought addressing them to the North Pole was a bit vague)?  Whats your Christmas budget?  Do you really have a naughty list?  Was I ever on it?  (he’d shake his head, and whisper that my brothers definitely were on the list for quite a few years…knew it!)  How come my parents handwriting and yours is extremely similar? Did Rudolph get the carrots we left out for him?  How is Rudolph?  Anyone worked out whats going on with his nose yet?  Do you have a holiday home, surely the North Pole gets a bit boring? (I imagine him and Mrs Claus would spend the New Year in Thailand sunning themselves with some cocktails on the beach after a strenuous Christmas)  Which Father Christmas film was the most accurate portrayal of you?  Have you ever been tempted to sack off Christmas? How did you land this job? And can I intern?

I’d probably finish there, ask him for a photo and then would share some drinks, perhaps mulled wine, finally part our ways, never to meet again.

JKA x