Lifestyle

Bye Bye 2018

And hello 2019!

2018 flew by and has probably been one of my busiest years ever with Highers, S6 and university applications taking up a huge amount of time.

There have been lots of amazing little moments so, just like this time last year, here are 52 photos (for 52 weeks!) of my 2018 highlights! I’ve added a little context in the caption for each, and the links lead to relevant blog posts if you fancy reading more. So here’s my 2018 recap…

Please note that although chronological order should work on desktop, tablets and iPads, unfortunately it gets a bit muddled on phone screens - apologies for the technical difficulty.

 
5th January - an amazing vegan cooked breakfast from  Singl-End

5th January - an amazing vegan cooked breakfast from Singl-End

4th February - a beautiful walk around the local reservoir at sunset

4th February - a beautiful walk around the local reservoir at sunset

24th February - loving my new  mom jeans !

24th February - loving my new mom jeans!

31st March -  vegan Biscoff cupcakes  ( and my first time creating my own cake recipe!)

31st March - vegan Biscoff cupcakes ( and my first time creating my own cake recipe!)

12th April - buddha bowls (can you tell that I quite like broccoli?!)

12th April - buddha bowls (can you tell that I quite like broccoli?!)

12th April - another  fab photoshoot  with Mia and Freja

12th April - another fab photoshoot with Mia and Freja

28th April - in the full swing of  studying  for my Highers

28th April - in the full swing of studying for my Highers

2nd May -  berry oatmeal smoothie bowls  (and my most pinned post ever!)

2nd May - berry oatmeal smoothie bowls (and my most pinned post ever!)

27th May - looking at the Eiffel Tower…

27th May - looking at the Eiffel Tower…

5th July -  La Sagrada Familia  (definitely one of my mum’s favourite pieces of architecture)

5th July - La Sagrada Familia (definitely one of my mum’s favourite pieces of architecture)

7th July - takeaway  açai bowl  in Barcelona

7th July - takeaway açai bowl in Barcelona

11th July - quite a view from  Montserrat

11th July - quite a view from Montserrat

25th July - pink or blue?!

25th July - pink or blue?!

3rd August - a big Biscoff cake

3rd August - a big Biscoff cake

7th August - a smoothie bowl in a raw coconut!

7th August - a smoothie bowl in a raw coconut!

10th August - hey it’s hay!

10th August - hey it’s hay!

18th August - one of many, many, MANY trips to Picnic

18th August - one of many, many, MANY trips to Picnic

23rd September - the stunning Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge

23rd September - the stunning Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge

23rd August - the intricate interior of the Fitzwilliam Museum

23rd August - the intricate interior of the Fitzwilliam Museum

13th October - pretty raindrops

13th October - pretty raindrops

2nd November - Annette’s Angels at the Halloween disco

2nd November - Annette’s Angels at the Halloween disco

10th November - the BEST COFFEE EVER (got to Tamper in  Sheffield !)

10th November - the BEST COFFEE EVER (got to Tamper in Sheffield!)

16th November - fundraising for Children in Need dressed as minions!

16th November - fundraising for Children in Need dressed as minions!

27th November - fashion show

27th November - fashion show

27th November - prom dresses for fashion show and Mr Liddle

27th November - prom dresses for fashion show and Mr Liddle

12th December - it’s RED!!!

12th December - it’s RED!!!

24th December - an extremely time-consuming and enjoyable Stephen Hawking querkle (credit to New Scientist)

24th December - an extremely time-consuming and enjoyable Stephen Hawking querkle (credit to New Scientist)

3rd February - the beginning of my  Paesano Pizza  obsession (both cheap and tasty, they’re so worth a try if you haven’t been before!)

3rd February - the beginning of my Paesano Pizza obsession (both cheap and tasty, they’re so worth a try if you haven’t been before!)

16th March - delighted to pass my grade 8 oboe with merit!

16th March - delighted to pass my grade 8 oboe with merit!

4th April - rose gold hair…

4th April - rose gold hair…

21st April - some very pretty cherry blossoms

21st April - some very pretty cherry blossoms

12th May - some yoga fun in the sun ( here ’s why you should give it a try…)

12th May - some yoga fun in the sun (here’s why you should give it a try…)

25th May - a little post-exam trip to  Paris !

25th May - a little post-exam trip to Paris!

24th June -  Happy Pineapple Day!
6th July - the most AMAZING  concert

6th July - the most AMAZING concert

10th July - palm tree sunset

10th July - palm tree sunset

11th July - sunrise at the beach

11th July - sunrise at the beach

28th July - a Reese’s cake for  James’ 15th

28th July - a Reese’s cake for James’ 15th

6th August - blueberry banana peanut butter smoothie in the heart of London (it was soooo good!)

6th August - blueberry banana peanut butter smoothie in the heart of London (it was soooo good!)

9th August - a lovely day trip to Bath

9th August - a lovely day trip to Bath

15th August - day one of my last year at school…

15th August - day one of my last year at school…

8th September - team building at EYP Nationals in Liverpool

8th September - team building at EYP Nationals in Liverpool

16th September - fun times with Amy!

16th September - fun times with Amy!

12th October - I bleached my hair AGAIN!

12th October - I bleached my hair AGAIN!

19th October - loving some sunset silhouette photography

19th October - loving some sunset silhouette photography

4th November - chocolate salted caramel popcorn cake (and yes it is vegan!) for my mum’s birthday

4th November - chocolate salted caramel popcorn cake (and yes it is vegan!) for my mum’s birthday

11th November - lots of leaves in  Yorkshire Sculpture Park

11th November - lots of leaves in Yorkshire Sculpture Park

24th November - sparkling candle for my dad’s birthday

24th November - sparkling candle for my dad’s birthday

5th December - pre-interview…

5th December - pre-interview…

9th December - Christmas lights at George Square

9th December - Christmas lights at George Square

18th December - some  Christmassy bokeh

18th December - some Christmassy bokeh

 

2018 certainly was an action packed year, but I have to confess to being even more excited about 2019. I can’t quite believe that I’m going to be leaving school, turning eighteen and (hopefully!) going to university too! It’s a year full of lots of big changes but I’m really, really looking forward to it all.

Hope you’ve all had a brilliant 2018 and all the best for the new year!

Heather xoxo

 

Christmas is Coming...

Long time no see! 👋🏼 I honestly cannot believe how long it’s been since my last post - there’s been so much going on! 🙈 Since my last post…

At school, we fundraised for Children in Need by dancing dressed in minion costumes. 🌟

 
minion costumes
 

Fashion show was a huge success after countless hours of rehearsing and planning. 💃🏼 The event was fab, I loved my dress for prom walk 😍 and we raised over £5500 for Robin House - huge congrats to everyone involved! 👏🏼

 
prom dress
heather and amy
 

I’ve had replies/offers from a few of the universities I applied to 📝 - I’m still waiting on two more and keeping my fingers crossed for things to all go well… 🤞🏼

My hair has been dyed coppery red 🧖🏼‍♀️ - even thought it’s fading now, I absolutely loved having such bright colours! 💖

 
red hair
red hair
 

The school Christmas Concert was brilliant yet again (click here to see some videos…). 🎶

 
sixth years
 

And to top it all off I’ve had tonnes of work for exams, assignments and university applications too! 📚

 
mistletoe bokeh
snowman decoration
 

Now that the holidays are finally here and Christmas is just around the corner, I’ve had a little more time to get festive (although I must confess to decorating the tree to 80s music, rather than the more typical seasonally appropriate songs!). 🎅🏼 Presents are all bought and wrapped, cards written and delivered, menus planned, music in full swing… ⛄️

 
vegan white choc chip chocolate orange cookies

vegan white choc chip chocolate orange cookies

vegan white chocolate, cranberry and pecan cookies

vegan white chocolate, cranberry and pecan cookies

 

I baked 88 cookies (yes, eighty-eight!) on Saturday: some chocolate orange and others with white chocolate, pecan and cranberry. 🍪 I adapted this recipe and this recipe to veganise these cookies, and their both Christmas essentials in my opinion! ❤️ Festive tunes are playing constantly at home now (my favourites are Fairytale of New York, Christmas Lights and Mary’s Boy Child) and I’ve loved getting out my camera to take a few pretty bokeh photos too. 📸

 
rudolph bokeh
jingle bells decoration
 

All in all I’m looking forward to a few days of relaxation at home before diving into prelim revision (my exams are four days back-to-back in January) - I think we all deserve a break after such a busy year. 😴 For more festive posts, be sure to check out my Christmas A-Z and Christmas movie posts from last year!

 
robin decoration
mistletoe bokeh
 

I hope everyone has a lovely time and look forward to generating more blog content in the coming weeks 💻 - look out for a reflective or photo-centric blog post coming in the next week or two…



Merry Christmas! 🎄



Heather xoxo

 
 

A Weekend in Sheffield

I’ve just returned home from a brilliant weekend in Sheffield with my dad and brother. I finally had time to use my camera and it was lovely to briefly be able to relax and chill amongst the chaos of my daily life - I never imagined I could be so busy, so sorry for my recent absence!

Here’s what we got up to…

 

Tamper

You probably know one of my favourite things to do when travelling is to discover new vegan places, so I was delighted when my dad found a little place called Tamper only a five minute walk from the hotel. The interior was stunning and the New Zealand style coffee culture was incredible - definitely some of the best coffee I’ve ever had! I opted for the Rejuvenator on day one, and I tried the porridge when we returned the following day. James gave The Big Kiwi a shot, followed by the french toast special on day two, whilst my dad tried the granola. It was all so delicious!

flat white
rejuvinator
tamper
granola and yoghurt
 

Hybrid

view from the Plug

Our main reason for visiting was to see Hybrid in concert. For those who haven’t heard of them, Hybrid are a cinematic electronic band, creating lush and rather unique sounds. Definitely worth a listen - the music is incredibly powerful and they were fantastic live. It was even better being in such a tiny venue called the Plug, ideally located just opposite from our hotel!

Even cooler: as we checked out of the hotel the next day we actually saw them packing up so were able to have a little chat!

 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

autumn leaves
boys and a view

On our way back up to Glasgow we stopped by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, somewhere we often visited when I was younger and lived in Leeds (although I have no memories of it!). The autumnal colours were gorgeous and there were some fascinating sculptures dotted through the park - a tranquil place to visit on a beautiful November day.

autumn trees
 

And everything else…

wagamama

In addition to all of that, we explored Sheffield’s centre (including a stop by the water wall opposite the station) and visited Meadowhall Shopping Centre - a hellishly busy place (although it did have some fab shops) which makes Braehead look tiny! We kept our pre-concert dinner simple with a trip to Wagamama, where I had my usual ramen - yum!

IMG_4697.jpg
IMG_4735.jpg
 

So it was a completely wonderful weekend and I’m so glad I finally got a little breather after sending off UCAS applications, studying, sitting exams, plus all of my other extra activities at school.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below - I’d particularly love to hear about your experience if you’ve ever been to Sheffield, or if you’re a Hybrid-lover like me!

Heather xoxo

 

The Curse of Coffee Culture

Hello again everyone! Apologies for my blogging break - the end of summer holidays and back to school have been crazy busy already so unfortunately my blog post frequency is likely to be reducing slightly for the next little while.

 

You’re probably aware that exam results have been released in the UK in the last couple of weeks - I’m delighted with mine and I really hope others are too. Last year, I shared both of my English portfolio pieces: a persuasive essay on veganism and a reflective essay about my Grandad. So to keep up the tradition (and provide content for a post - I’m really struggling to plan content so if you have any ideas then please tell me!) I thought I’d share my essays from this last year.

 

So today, here are my thoughts about one of my favourite beverages, coffee…

 
coffee
 

It’s a chilly October morning. Outside it’s raining cats and dogs. Strangers hurry past, wrapped tightly in their jackets, breath fogging in front of their faces. Tucked away in a cosy corner of your favourite coffeehouse, you’re bundled up in the blissful warmth of a thick jumper. The scent of freshly brewed coffee tickles your nostrils. Friends surround you, catching up over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. You indulge in a sip of your Pumpkin Spice Latte, revelling in the sugary liquid sliding down your throat. You are completely content, thriving on the bustling atmosphere inside the little coffee shop.

 

But have you ever taken a minute to consider the implications of your cup of coffee?

 

As a society, we tend to shun drug users who snort cocaine and smoke cannabis whilst glossing over the fact that caffeine, a substance most of us consume on a regular basis, is a drug too. A single shot of espresso contains an average of 75mg of caffeine - that’s more than double the amount found in a can of Coca-Cola. And although caffeine stimulates the brain and can temporarily improve concentration, the body rapidly acclimatises itself to caffeine until a regular coffee drinker is no more alert after their daily coffee than someone who doesn’t consume caffeine at all. Excess caffeine is particularly dangerous for women too: it results in a hormonal imbalance and has been known to result in miscarriage during pregnancy. Despite allegedly offering a short-term mood boost, long-term it has been proven to increase stress levels and worsen anxiety, commonly causing insomnia which can have a severe impact on daily life. But the stimulating effect of caffeine makes it addictive, trapping the consumer in a vicious cycle of coffee consumption from which it is impossible to break free without suffering unbearable withdrawal symptoms.

 
coffee
 

It is far from just the caffeine that society is addicted to: it’s the experiences we associate with coffee. Seeing friends, going on dates or studying subjects: the memories of people we’ve met over a cup of coffee make it inconceivable not to love the concept of chatting over a cup or two, regardless of whether we even like the drink. The natural bitterness of coffee itself appeals to few - most choose to mute this flavour with the additions of milk, cream and sugar until they can tolerate the taste. All of these extras, however, can pile up to an extortionate expense. Our obsession with consuming “trendy” coffees has turned modern society into coffee snobs. Those who make their own coffee at home in a stove top coffee pot spend an average of £0.09 per cup compared to the outrageous average of £1.60 spent at a single coffee shop. Although £1.60 may sound like a rather insignificant setback, it can add up to a cost of tens of thousands of pounds in a lifetime - and that’s not even factoring in the effect of inflation or the pressure to customise the most magnificent order possible.

 

Alongside this desire to consume the most “luxurious” coffee, however, is a bigger issue: the obesity epidemic. Fuelling this is a popular marketing strategy, used by most franchises, known as “upselling,” where customers are offered the chance to “improve” their order by topping with whipped cream or upgrading to large for just 50p. Not only does this scheme increase the cost of a coffee, it can result in an average consumption of almost 20,000 additional calories per person per year. The fact that caffeine makes food taste less sweet further worsens the situation: people are more likely to sweeten their drink or indulge in a sweet treat too. Moreover, the drinks served by Starbucks rarely even taste of coffee - they have so much sugar, milk and cream that they’re more like flavoured milkshakes than artisanal coffees. A Venti White Chocolate Whole Milk Mocha with Whipped Cream, for example, contains an outrageous 609 calories, 65.9g of sugar and 28.6g of fat, making Coca-Cola seem healthy with just 139 calories, 35g of sugar and no fat per can. Some would claim that these extra calories are negated by the effect of chlorogenic acid found in coffee (which supposedly boosts weight loss), but any benefit of this disappears once a slab of cake is consumed alongside. The general public is oblivious to the nutritional content of these enormous servings of cake - a lemon drizzle cake sold by Pret A Manger had more than triple the recommended daily amount of sugar for a child. Go on a couple of coffee dates a week and all those calories rack up rather quickly…

 
takeaway coffee
 

Not only does coffee consumption affect the health of the human population, it also has a detrimental impact on the environment. Takeaway coffee cups are coated in a thin layer of polythene to make them waterproof and aid with insulation, but this makes them non-biodegradable. Technically speaking they’re still recyclable - but only by highly-specialised facilities, two of which exist in Britain. In the UK we get through a staggering 10,000 takeaway coffee cups in only two minutes; on a global scale, humans discard 16 billion coffee cups per year. That equates to 6.5 million trees, 4 billion gallons of water and enough energy to power over 50,000 homes. Some stores offer a discount for people who bring their own reusable takeaway cup, but the simplest way to tackle this issue is to simply use recyclable cups - a study showed that the majority of people would happily pay a little extra for their coffee if this was the case.

 

Coffee capsules used in the increasingly popular Nespresso machines are even worse. Made from a combination of aluminium and plastic, they’re virtually impossible to recycle - a problem that is worsened by the coffee granules trapped in the bottom of the pod. And this trend doesn’t seem to be disappearing - coffee capsules currently make up a third of the entire Western European coffee market and it is believed that by 2020, sales of coffee capsules could overtake that of teabags.

 
coffee
 

The packaging of coffee isn’t the only thing harming the environment: new farming techniques have a drastically detrimental effect too. Over 125 million people rely on growing coffee beans to survive, but the ever-increasing popularity of coffee has resulted in major changes in farming methods. Traditionally, coffee beans were grown under the shade of trees, a method which required no chemical fertilisers and encouraged greater biodiversity in the area. Now, the canopies which once sheltered the coffee plants have been obliterated so that coffee beans can grow in direct sunlight, resulting in a severe loss of biodiversity. Although the beans grow more quickly and are easier to harvest, they require large quantities of chemical fertilisers which deplete the soil.

 

We consume four hundred billion cups of coffee a year, but how often do we stop to consider the wider impact this has? Coffee is detrimental to our personal health, our finances and, most of all, our planet. And the funny thing is, most of us don’t even like its natural taste. We drink coffee to fit in with what we perceive the expectations of society to be: for many it’s more of a habit than a conscious choice. Completely cutting out coffee from our lives would be the simplest solution to these issues; but coffee culture plays too significant a role in modern society for that. Regardless of how we take our coffee, it doesn’t change our memories created over a cup of coffee, or the pleasure of indulging in the drink. Perhaps the answer is to take small steps towards a healthier relationship with coffee: next time you’re cosied up in your favourite Starbucks, maybe consider skipping the cake, going decaf or using a reusable takeaway cup.

 
reusable coffee cup
 

I really hope you enjoyed the essay and I’d love to hear your feedback! I still have a daily cup of coffee, but I now carry a reusable cup out with me (mine is from Stojo) which has been fantastic so far. It reduces the environmental damage and many places even give you a discount if you bring your own reusable cup too!

 

Hope everyone has had (or is having - lucky you who aren’t back at school or uni yet!) a fantastic summer and I’ll do my best to keep up with blog posts - as mentioned earlier, any content ideas would be much appreciated. Thank you for reading this far too!

 

Heather xoxo

 

* FYI as this was an exam piece and it has my copyright please don’t copy or reproduce it. It was hard work with many drafts and it’d be gutting for someone else to take credit!

 

References

 

’12 Health Benefits and 6 Disadvantages of Coffee (Smashing It!),’ Warrior Coffee

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[Accessed: 17/09/17]

 

Triggle, N. ’Public 'tricked' into buying unhealthy food,’ BBC News

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[Accessed: 17/09/17]

 

Hurley, B. ’Coffee order: would you like environmental sustainability with that?,’ The Guardian

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[Accessed: 17/09/17]

 

Smithers, R. ’UK coffee chains criticised over sugar-laden products,’ The Guardian

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’The Effects of Paper Coffee Cups on The Environment,’ Green Match

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[Accessed: 17/09/17]

 

Fearnley-Whittingstall, H. ’Viewpoint: The waste mountain of coffee cups,’ BBC News

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Stokel-Walker, C. ’Is there a serious problem with coffee capsules?,’ BBC News

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’Caffeine and Insomnia,’ My Life Stages

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Benson, T. ’How Your Coffee Got so Damn Expensive,’ ATTN:

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[Accessed: 17/09/17]

 

Jourdan, T. ’It can be good for your brain and waistline, but bad for your bones and kidneys: What your daily coffee is really doing to your body,’ Daily Mail

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Shilling, L. ’Retro coffee - was it really that bad?,’ Cafe Culture

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[Accessed: 17/09/17]

 

Ferdman, R.A. ’It’s true: Americans like to drink bad coffee,’ The Washington Post

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Goodwin, L. ’How Much is Starbucks Coffee?,’ The Spruce

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DiSalvo, D. ’Caffeine May Make People Crave Sweetness, Study Says,’ Forbes

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[Accessed: 24/09/17]

 

Arumugam, N. ’Why Starbucks Has No Time For Me: The Science Of Being A Coffee-Hater,’ Forbes

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Looijen, F. ’Coffee: Just an Energy Boost or a Social Atmosphere?,’ Masters of Media

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Milne, L. ’Fights disease and helps weight loss: Surprising perks to your coffee fix,’ Sunday Express

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Gunnars, K. ’13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science,’ Health Line

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^^ approx. 700 words ^^

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Domingo, I. ’What is the Kremlin and how to buy tickets online,’ Russiable

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Alexander, S. ’Revealed: the cost of your coffee addiction,’ The Telegraph

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[Accessed: 01/10/17]

 

Alexander, S. ’How much is your coffee addiction costing you,’ Buddy Loans

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Stripy Crop Top

I recently realised that it’s been nearly two months since my last fashion post, so I thought it might be time for another, particularly given the heatwave and my love of summer fashion! Amongst the many lovely presents I received for my birthday last week were some lovely tops from my brother, so here’s one of them in a new favourite outfit of mine…

 
Stripey Crop Top
 

You’ve probably spotted my sunglasses a few times on my Instagram feed lately - they were a new purchase from French Connection in Boots at the start of the summer holidays. Having wanted a pair of aviators for months (but been unsuccessful in finding ones that suited me) I was delighted the I found these rose-tinted ones that not only fit my face, but are the perfect colours for me too!

 
Stripey Crop Top
Stripey Crop Top
 

I first spotted this halter neck crop top in Urban Outfitters in Barcelona, and subtly dropped James hints for a birthday idea. The fit is brilliant and the material is really comfy too - with colourful stripes perfect for summer it’s quickly become a favourite!

 
Stripey Crop Top
 

My denim mini skirt is from Topshop. I love the style and it actually has usable pockets too! I’d definitely recommend Topshop’s denim section - this skirt and my mom jeans have both been fantastic and of great quality too (plus they have no leather patches on the back, unlike many other brands, so they’re more vegan-friendly!).

 
Stripey Crop Top
Stripey Crop Top
 

To finish the outfit are my trusty old white Converse (which are getting less and less white as the days go by) and all of my usual daily jewellery. You might notice a slight pink tint in the ends of my hair too - I recently experimented with the Odd Fuchsia semi-permanent pink hair dye from Bleach London with my friend Sophie. I’ve been painting the colour with their Rose Shampoo and Conditioner and it’s been working brilliantly so far - yay!

 
Stripey Crop Top
 

For a change, photo credits go to James - his first time using the camera and I’m amazed at how well they all turned out! Huge thank you to him for both the top and tolerating my endless posing…

 

Hope you’ve been enjoying some glorious sunshine too wherever you are (we’ve been up in the low 30s down in England) and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this outfit. Let me know about your favourite summer items in the comments too!

 

Heather xoxo

 
Stripey Crop Top