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Friday, 21 September 2018

Recent Poetry.



Lost my mind

Sometimes I wonder 
If I've lost my mind.
Maybe she's wandering down supermarket aisles, 
 like a child in search of Mum, after a mission to fetch bread.
Sometimes I wonder if one night I simply
put her to bed,
and she's not woken from her lie in, 
like a teenager snoozing at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon
Sometimes I wonder if she got bored of me
or peaked too soon.

 But if I'm quiet, I hear her whisper,
Her voice is loud when I choose to listen.
So maybe many
 will think I'm crazy.
 She's just been busy 
- my favourite lady. 



___

Many Things 


You were many things.
Unexpected and exciting,
Impossible,
Indecisive
Which ironically
left fate decided.

You were many things 
that I liked, 
and some things that shocked me 
Some made me smile
That made me laugh in a state joyful
   denial. 

You were many things.
But what startled me the most 
Was the moment  
I could feel the familiarity of your
   ghost.

You were many things.
Mostly wonderful 
but, that doesn't count for much when you're 
   invisible. 

____

Feeling Heavy


I think of my weight so often
 it leaves me feeling heavy
My clothes feel tight
and my mind implies
 that's not alright.

I punish my mistakes,
eat another slice of cake 
and whisper 
diet starts 
tomorrow. 

Tomorrow comes, I poke my tum
and eternalise shame
Finding somewhere new to point the blame. 
as if the shape of my body cause for complain.
as if my curve represent wrongdoings
and stretch marks are a nuisance. 

I analyse my size, wonder if I'm too wide.
But if I took a moment to push the aesthetics aside,
be cliché and think of inside,
I'd remember
it's this body is keeping me alive. 

____

Lonely 


You reminded me I was lonely 
I’d forgotten how I felt
It seemed second nature 
Not to question quiet
   with eager awaiting ears. 

I forgot the comfort 
    the slightest touch could bring
That magic lives within the warmth of skin brushing
    skin
The spark a simple stroke ignites within.

Now I remember that I’m lonely,
As I’m sitting all alone 
I can’t help but regret your reminder.
It spun your insignificance, fast. 
Leaving me unsure whether I’m looking forward
Or glancing towards the
   past.  


____

Paint the Sky

I thought of painting the sky with 
You 
I pictured
   vibrant pink, violet, red, 
   electric blue. 
But then our colours swirled together 
Our energy drained from mixing 
We created the deepest shade of 
g r e y. 

That haunted sky 
Surrounded us, silent. 
I felt each syllable I heard the quiet clouds say. 

___

I regularly post poetry to Instagram, so if you want to read more of my words, follow me on there @chloeharriets


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Monday, 17 September 2018

Imperfect Imagery.







 

I woke up this morning and I felt powerful. I felt positive and motivated. I practically jumped out of bed and decided I need to write a blog post about taking up space because that was exactly what I intended on doing.



I decided to do the photography first. To take on the role of model, stylist and photographer, and get the perfect shots. I used my favourite bright pink eyeshadow, I curled my hair with my chopstick curler. I put on a black jumpsuit which made me feel like a girl boss. I wanted to take up space in the images, with my bright makeup, biggest hair and my most powerful outfit that's exactly what I was going to do.

I ignored the fact, I was dressed for a different season, and the wet grass was making my sliders, well slidey. I didn't matter that I was home alone, I could shoot the photos myself and make them look good in my backgarden.



Using a tripod, self-timer and phone remote at the back of your house certainly isn't the more glamour way to shoot photographs, but it was a way which was accessible to me, and I was excited to see what blogger esc images I could take. The visions in my head we're living up to the standards of famous fashion blogger who clearly have photographers they pay for and to die for locations as backdrops.  Rather than being somewhere tropical with someone snap some pictures of me living my best life, I was cold and hyperaware of how awkward I feel in front of a camera. I took pictures, but my camera wasn't playing games. Autofocus took to my mum's plants rather than me, and I found myself tugging on my jumpsuit a lot. After a while of freezing, putting on my best fake smile and placing my hands on my hips, I went to look at the results.

I was disappointed, to say the least. I spent my time taking these photos and I couldn't use any of them. I was out of focus. You could clearly see I've got a belly. I had too much cleevage out.  My hair was too big, I should have let the curls drop. My face looks... weird. I picked out endless flaws in the images. I felt defeated. I was going to scrap the post. I felt gutted I wasted a couple of hours.

And then something came over me. I wanted to write a blog post about taking space, and maybe it's more important I choose to take up this space, even if I do some imperfectly  It's the showing up that counts after all. We're all learning. These weren't the best photos, and I am the most awkward model, but still, I'm putting myself out there, and working to improve.


 Recently I've felt down about my writing, not necessarily the actual words but more that I don't recognise my spelling mistakes and grammar errors. Often I post poetry on Instagram, which is a vulnerable thing to do,  and I feel humiliated when I realise, I can't even get the spellings of the most simple words right, despite the hours I put into proofreading and redrafting. 

However, just because my words aren't always perfect and polished, it doesn't discredit their value. Trying is underrated. Putting time and energy into creating is important. Things don't always turn out how we planned, but that doesn't mean they don't matter, that doesn't mean our time is wasted.
With curated feeds, we often think negatively of imperfect imagery and try to live up to a staged perception of life, but that's not life reality, and sometimes we need to ditch the filters and remind the world of our most authentic self.










I guess the post is my way of saying, you don't have to be perfect take up space. to create, and feel good about yourself. And on looking back, I'm much happier with the images, they aren't perfect, but I'm choosing to share them here because not everything needs to be perfect. I'm entitled to take up space in whatever way I deem worthy.


I often feel inadequate, and I've still got a lot to learn, but that doesn't make me invaluable.






   

   Outfit Details








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Friday, 14 September 2018

To All the Boys I've Loved Before: Book Review | Book v Film.


As always, I found myself jumping on the bandwagon with a new hype. After reading tweet after tweet about To All the Boys I Loved Before, so I spend my Sunday afternoon, thankful for Netflix, engrossed in the world of Lara Jean and her letters. Since I have watched it once more, and just the book in just three days.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think it's the perfect YA rom-com storyline. The first time I watched it, I found myself a little underwhelmed. I'd heard so many good things about it, so it was unlikely it was going to live up to expectations. My unpopular opinion being, The Kissing Booth is actually better. Still, I liked it enough to watch it again. I preferred it the second time around and then I bought the book.


General Thoughts:

On beginning the book I found myself somewhat disappointed. I didn't love the style of language, it just felt too simple, and there really seemed to be no different from the film adaption. Having said that, spending an evening babysitting, meant I have time to kill. I got hooked on the book and ended up reading all 421 pages in just three days.  To begin with, something felt immature about Lara Jean's voice, however, as the story went on she grew on me and seemed to grow up.

As I've mentioned the language used through is pretty simple, which at first bothered me because I felt it all could have been made 'prettier', however on reading it I realise the simple language made the story more digestible, and cuts on the crap. I had a very clear picture in my head of what was happening, there was no need for fancy adjectives, however, the story being so clear in my imagination probably had a little something to do with having already seen it on screen. Yet having said that, despite the lack of flowery language the book is very detailed. I think it was a lot longer than I needed to be, it could have done with a healthy edit. We don't need to know that the characters are eating cereal.


Plot:

The narrative doesn't vary much from the Netflix film, if you haven't seen it, here's the most none spoiler (ish) breakdown I can give it: Lara Jean, is a half Asian girl with two sisters she's close to, an older sister Margot, and Younger sister Kitty. It's just them and their dad. Lara Jean writes letters to all the boys she's ever loved, with no intention of sending them, rather her way of moving on. Her letter gets sent to all of the boys. One of those boys is Josh, their neighbour, sisters ex-boyfriends and Lara Jean's close friend. A letter also gets send to Peter, Lara Jeans first kiss, and her ex-friends, recent ex-boyfriend. Lara Jean and Peter end up in a fake relationship, a way to make Gen (Peters Ex) jealous, and convince Josh, Lara Jean's feelings for him are a thing of the past.

Although there are many layers to the story, it's written in a way which is easy to follow.
Personally, I prefer the book ending, to me it felt right and bought things in quite a satisfying circle.

The plot works for the Young Adult genres,  but could never to adapted to be something more adult. It feels very young.


The Characters:

The characters have good chemistry, as Lara Jean and Peter were friends when they were younger, it feels natural that their relationship doesn't feel awkward, it's also interesting to see how their relationship develop throughout. Despite the fact Margot's character isn't actually present in the book much, she has a lot of impacts. She's also one of the only characters I really found myself disliking. Lara Jean's and Josh's relationship is confusing and sometimes unrealistic, is your sister's boyfriend really someone you're likely to crush on? Something about that feels a little icky to me, but it also a key aspect of the story. Each character feels very real and unique, we learn a lot about the characters personal/family lives, which I think gives them an extra dimension.


Themes:

The story explores themes including, love v crush, family dynamic, high school drama, popularity, death, race, sisterhood, friendship and more.


Book v Film:

The main difference between the book and film is that the film has a much more modern social media twist. Instagram is not discussed through the book and doesn't need to be.
The ending varies slightly between the two, however, there are more books in the series, therefore the end is left more open in the book. I personally really enjoyed the book ending, it felt as though things came in a satisfying loop.

The character, as ever have a slightly different feel in the book. I really dislike Margot character in the book, I think she comes across much immature and uptight.
It seems we learn more about Josh's character in the book and his relationship with Lara Jean and his family.
Peter's character is not so likeable throughout a lot of the book (or maybe seeing how beautiful Noah Centineo is, makes Peter more likeable in the film). It took a lot longer for me to come around to him, but there is a certain charm about him nonetheless.
Kitty's character is brilliant in both.
In the book, you learn a lot more about Lara Jeans past, and her Mom, and their Asian culture.
The acting and casting of the film were incredible, each actor reflecting their character pretty true to how they're written in the book.
I loved the book the more I read it. I could not put it down. I wish, I read it before I watched it, but either way, I stayed up until 2am reading to finished it. Any book worth sacrificing sleep for is worth reading. I'm excited to get the next in the series now! Everything about this book is cliché, and typical of a Young Adult romance, but that's kind of what I love about it.



Have you read or watched To All the Boys I Loved Before? What do you think, is it worth the hype?
I'd love if you could comment with any book recommendations you have, I'm always looking for something new to read!

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Monday, 10 September 2018

My First Week Working from Home: What I've Learnt.

  

If you read this post, you'll know I recently quit my job to build my career as a writer. Working from my bedroom is very different from waking up at 6am, getting on a bus, to work a job where somebody else manages what I do. I'm in now where I have always wanted to be, in the driver's seat of my career. However I'm starting from nothing, with no income coming in, I've got a lot of work to do to make sure my big risk pays off. To put it simply, the pressure is on, and the to-do list is long, well, never-ending.

In just the first week of my new start, I've learnt a lot, here a little bit of the wisdom I've picked up in these 7 days:

1) I need to go to bed at a suitable time. I don't work well tired, and naps are only too tempting as my bed is a few feet from my desk.

2) I work less when I'm hungry. Snack breaks are essential, to ensure my working hours live up to their full potential.

3) Productivity trackers are eye-opening. It got to the end of what felt like a productive day and reflecting back on my tracker, I realise I hadn't used my time as wisely as I'd thought. My productivity tracker makes it clear when I'm less focused, how much you can really achieve in a working day (a hell of a lot more than you think) and how much time gets 'wasted'.

4) To lists should be written the night before. Writing my to-do in the morning cuts into the time doing the tasks. However, writing it the night before allows me to be prepared, and clear about how I'm spending the next day.

5) When my alarm goes off, I need to make sure feet touch the floor before I do anything else. If I spend a bit of time on Instagram, in the cosy comfort of my bed, the likelihood is, when I put my phone down I'll fall straight back to sleep.

6) When I'm at home and have the flexibility, it's easy to take advantage of it, but once I take my focus off getting work done, it's hard to get back to it. Working 9-5 means I get to keep my evenings and get the work done.

7) Having someone holding me accountable is motivating. My stepdad is asking me, each evening what I achieved that day, I do the work knowing I'll have something to tell him.

8) Sometimes I just don't feel productive. I probably need a break, a snack, and a bit of a refresh. That break however should not include watching an episode of Gossip Girl, spending my time with Chuck and Blair will never bring me an income, or improve my writing.

9) Other people assume my new found time is free time. It's not. They shouldn't use up this time if I don't have anywhere else I can fit the work in.

10) There is 0 point sitting at my desk if I'm just scrolling Instagram. Using the Forrest app to set me half hour working time makes all the difference.

11) My morning routine should remain as it were when I had to leave the house for work.  One day I found myself at in my PJs, yet to have eaten or brushed my teeth at 1pm. It was not a pretty sight and then I had a super long 'lunch break' as I had to have lunch and complete my usual morning routine all at once.

12) There's no point putting the work in if I'm not going to shout about it. I need to promote my blog posts, send pitches and let people know, I'm a writer.

13) Money isn't just going to land on my lap. The reality that I don't know when I'll next have some income is beginning to hit, and leaving my stomach in an anxious knot. I have to put myself out there, which is scary, but you don't grow when you're comfortable.

14) Sometimes life gets in the way and to do lists can wait. They might wait, but they won't disappear.

15) New routines take getting used to and it's normal to have an adjustment period. However, that adjustment period shouldn't double up as an excuse to be lazy.

16) It's important to remind myself why. Sometimes, lying in bed with junk food and Gilmore Girls is more inviting than sitting at my desk, doing something I'm not yet getting paid for. When I find myself searching Netflix it's time to refresh and remind myself why I'm making this sacrifice.

17) Somedays are more productive than others and that's okay.

18) To do lists are less scary when you start doing the stuff.

19) Other people probably won't take me seriously, and just to give me unsolicited advice on what job I should get or the master I should do. As long as I take myself seriously, that doesn't matter, and honestly, there's something motivating in other people not believing in me.

20) Faking it until I make it is the way forward. I'm so much more productive when I pretend my dream has already come true, that my writing is being read and I'm being paid to do it. Faking it also gives me that extra boost of confidence when I send pitches, because why the fuck, not me?!


If you have any advice for me as I start this journey, I'm all ears, please leave it in the comments!
I hope you found this post interesting and useful in some way!
Love, C x
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Friday, 7 September 2018

Instagram Style Inspo






After reading this post by TheAnnaEdit, I hit follow on all of the chic French girls which Anna recommended and felt an overwhelming desire to up my style game, so naturally found myself, still on the 'gram, scrolling through the accounts of those who have me heart-eyed emoji over their #OOTDs.

As sharing, is caring, so I put together my own, not so French, favourite fashion Instagram accounts worth a follow.




@brittanybathgate



I will be very surprised if you haven't heard of Brittany, her style is simplistic, yet distinctive. She knows how to layer and play with silhouettes. She dresses in a way which gives off that 'I just threw this on look' and always looks so damn cool. Her wardrobe is full of neutral tones, that never look dull and always stand out. The combination of the shapes and shades she opts for, create a crisp modern look, that although it's super simple, many girls are afraid to be so bold. Her style is sophisticated, and unusual combination of both androgynous and feminine.






@oliviabynature


Olivia's style is more colourful, more playful. She always rocking trousers/jeans and a printed jumper/tee. She knows how to pair clothes together, so they're loud, showing primary colours and patterns, but she never reaches overloads. I also like the nod toward androgynous, as she rarely opts for a skirt/dress, rather band tees and jumpers oversized.

She often opts for printed jeans, colourful pattern, and simple shapes. She's not afraid to stand out, and she does. 







@lucywilliams02


 Lucy has got the cool girl look down. Lucy knows how to pair up simplicity with statement to create her crisp style. Her history working in the Fashion industry shows through in her ability to put together outfits which other give off the 'I just threw this on vibe' but also say, I always look great, and I know my aesthetic like the back of my hand. 





@ardenrose


The thing I love about Arden is she just seems to wear whatever the fuck she wants. She likes what she likes and that's what she wears - which is something I really admire. Her style playful, quirky, with a hint of elegance, and completely her own. He clothes always seem to be worn with a striking confidence. 








Chloe's style had a boho chic feel to it. She goes for neutral tones and strong silhouettes. Her outfits both look feminine and badass. Personally, I have a lot of love for her use of ribbons in her hair and her ability to make blazers and tees look femme.









@hollyrebeccawhite

Holly is a model, and boy oh boy does it show on her Instagram. Some of the photos are so breathtaking. She certainly has her own style which shines through. Her signature make up look is red lips, minimal face makeup and 0 eye make up, which is so unusual and really compliments her red hair and pale complexion. Her style is playful and unique.












@meganellaby


I'd be crazy to not bring up Meg. She's got a style which takes space, and rightly so. The queen of vibrant prints and power poses, Meg's style stand out. She wears such daring outfits, so casually, with a fierceness, we can all envy. She is someone we should all take styling and confidence pointers from. Her style is loud, her ability to put statement pieces together and look so chic deserves shouting about.










What I'm wearing:     





















Who are some of your Instagram style favourites? I'm always looking for new accounts to endless scroll, and new faces to make me excited about getting dressed in the morning.
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Monday, 3 September 2018

A New Beginning, A Leap of Faith and A Lot of Hard Work.


The summer of 2010, I found myself in tears. I was having a conversation with my mum.  "But I don't want to go, I don't even like children," I told her.
"I know Clo, but it's only for a few months until you start Uni. It's not forever and you need some money" she replied, frustrated.

My new job wasn't as bad as I had expected. The hours were long and I hated singing to crying babies. But it was okay, working at the nursery. I needed the money, and I actually bonded with some of the children. I liked painting with them, they made me laugh, and there's something kind of wonderful about having an excuse to play as an adult.


While I was at Uni, I returned to work at the nursery between term times. When you're a student, money is money. I graduated with a BA(honours) degree in Fashion and returned to that job while looking for something new. I found a new job, it seemed perfect, it wasn't. The pay was shit, and when my probation was up, despite being great at every other aspect of the job,  I was told I not confident enough doing the one part of the job I hated. I returned to my search and the comfort of my old job, retelling the Gruffalo without one having to look down at the words. I got a job on a makeup counter. I decided it wasn't for me. I found myself, back in that familiar building, singing with Preschoolers, and changing nappies all over again.

I worked at a job I never wanted for 8 years. Sometimes I liked it.  There were days I laughed with my colleagues, my friends. The children called me pretty if I wore makeup (which was rare). They drew me pictures of rainbows, I stuck them to my bedroom wall like a proud parent displaying finger paintings on the fridge.
There were days I locked myself in the staff toilet and cried. Days parents complained, no matter how hard I worked. Sometimes the children played up, as children do. When they wouldn't listen, I felt out of control, not just of them, of my entire life. On these days, I hated myself because I dreamed of more. These days outweighed the ones I felt lucky.


Despite the hints of joy, my life felt mediocre. I felt embarrassed talking to my friends from Uni. I let go of friendships because I felt so ashamed,  my life wasn't enough for me. Despite working hard, having a job which some people love, I was always so aware it was not what I wanted. Being told I was good at it, or that I was lucky to have a job I could count on, did not change the simple fact, that it wasn't, isn't, what I want to spend my days doing.

I blogged in the background but felt foreground worthy. I wrote countless diary entries, spent my bus journeys typing poetry into the notes on my iPhone. I read books. I longed to write more, to write better. So I took a course. It made me realise, I didn't just want to write better, I want to be an actual real-life writer, you know, who earns a living from it (on realising that, I wrote this blogpost).

I wrote more. I encouraged 3 years old to eat their veg. I wrote more. I helped children master potty training. I wrote. I gave out stickers for good behaviour while daydreaming of writing more. 


I did another course  'How to Write and Pitch for (Women's) Magazine with Laura Jane Williams, although I struggle to tweet without a typo (I'm working on it folks), the feedback seemed to indicate, I'm actually pretty alright at writing, I just need to send the pitches. My sister told me I'm a very talented writer, a friend started crocheting my poetry to display at an exhibition, and my friends text me to say they connected with my blogposts. The Universe was gently nudging me and quietly whispering, that maybe, I'm not the only that can see value in my words.

I started getting dizzy spells. I'd suddenly feel overcome with a feeling of faint. One Wednesday afternoon,  I found myself, at work, laying on the kitchen floor, feet elevated, waiting for the world to come back into focus. It was as though felt my body was telling me something.

I decided something had to change. I handed in my notice, with no job to go to. I didn't give it a second thought. I made the decision something had to change, so now was the time to change something.

I couldn't build my dreams, earning little money, working long hours and a place which is tainted with my feelings of inadequacy.

So I decided to take advantage of the privilege that comes alongside being an adult living with a parent, trust my gut and get the hell out that job.

I'm 26, slightly terrified, and technically unemployed. I'm also excited.  I'm not sure what's next but my leap of faith is forcing me to keep writing, to look for people who fall in love with my words.

I'm intending on becoming a real writer. Yes, people look at me as though I'm crazy when I tell them I've left my job, but for the first time ever I feel I'm thinking clearly, I'm putting what I want first, despite the risk. I'm sick of my mediocre life, so it's time to build that career that exists in my mind.

For the first time in a long time, I'm hopeful. I'm trusting my gut, I'm trusting the Universe, and I can't wait for what's to come.



Photography by Madeleiine Grace
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