Let's take it back to the start...

The Fashion Diaries | Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle

I've been doing some thinking. Quite a lot of thinking, actually. The past few months, I feel like I've been having an out-of-body experience where my mind hasn't been attached to the life I've been living. The lights were on, but nobody was home.

Last month, I lost someone very close to me, and I never expected it to hit me as hard as it did. Without going into too much detail, losing someone so young with so much life left to live really makes you question everything, and in particular, I think it shocked me into wondering where I'm going with my life and what path I want to take.

My passion has always been with writing, and that's why I started this blog. It was my own little corner of the Internet where I could gush about the new Valentino collection, or make a Topshop wish list, or show off my new shoes that I'd been so proud of. But recently I've been feeling a little disconnected from this blog. I'm constantly wanting to change it, or comparing myself to other bloggers out there. I suppose that's why I've decided to start a fresh (you may notice that all previous blog posts have disappeared).

When it comes to The Fashion Diaries, I've been chasing my tail trying to find that old Liv that used to get home from college and couldn't wait to sit down in front of her laptop and write down all of her thoughts. I never used to care what people thought about my writing, because really, it didn't matter to me who was reading... it was more of a documentation of things for myself to look back on.

But blogging has changed so much.

Blogging is now an industry and a career. Bloggers are now celebrities: signing book deals, becoming the face of fashion brands and travelling the world. What a lot of consumers don't see is the "business" side of things. The statistics you have to disclose to PR's to get into fashion week. How they scruitinise you because of what platforms you use. Are you utilising SEO? Do you have a good CPM? What is your bounce rate?

There is definitely a lot of pressure to produce fresh content. Especially for fashion bloggers, because you're deemed to be failing if you don't own a pair of sliders or culottes - the current trend, which will no doubt be something new next week.

It's exhausting. It's surreal. And it's taken me a while to adjust to it and think "okay... woah... is this still something I want to do?". Somewhere amongst those stats and acronyms is probably where I became disorientated.

Although part of me wants to take a breather and just write about whatever the hell I want - even if that includes last seasons sale items (shock horror), the other part of me is scared of getting left behind. And for someone who is so passionate about their writing and wants to do it as a career, that's pretty terrifying.

So I'm taking things back to the start. Even though I've had a lot on my mind, The Fashion Diaries is still a huge priority for me. I now know exactly which route I want to take and I'm going about it with a refreshed attitude. I'm falling back in love with blogging.


Top Tips for Book Shelf Storage

I desparately need to organise my book shelf. It's just a scrambled mess and because of this, I rarely pick a book out from it.

Bookshelf styling has been a big thing recently, and I'm constantly being reminded how untidy my own is by Pinterest and bloggers and such.

SO... I'm making it my mission to make things a little tidier around here, and hopefully that'll get me back into the swing of reading again. I've compiled a list of my must-have accessories to jazz up that bookshelf.

1. Of course, the book shelf is the most important thing. If it's something timeless and classic you want, then opt for this grand ol' thing from Furniture Plus. If you're going for something a bit more quirky, then I'm loving this leaning book shelf from Urban Outfitters.

2. I just ADORE this Spaceboy wall art and think it would look super cute on a book shelf.

3. Candle holders are always a must. Although I'd try and refrain from putting these on the shelves lower down as it might burn the shelf above. Speaking from experience here. Ahem.

4. I have TONS of magazines and I always want to keep hold of them, but they can look messy on the shelf. Having one of these storage trays is a good way of making things look a little tidier.

5. I already have a million of these pretty decorated bowls, and they always look fabulous on book shelves. You can even put sweets in them if you wish ;-)

6. A plant, of course. Make sure it's a house plant though otherwise it'll die quickly. Again... speaking from experience!

7. Finally, a GLOBE (or some other abstract orniment). I've been looking for one like this for ages, and what's more? It's miniature size so it'll fit so lovely on the book shelf!

Being a Country Girl

I blame Carrie Bradshaw for trying to fool me into believing I could handle the city.

I'd imagine strutting down the cement-lined streets in my Christian Louboutins, on my way to my well-paid job at a fashion magazine and then afterwards, I'd pop out for cocktails with colleagues before inviting them back to my top-floor apartment in Soho.


The dream is always the "big city": it's where post-grads aspire to be and what we're always told about in those stupid Katherine Heigl rom coms. But the truth is, I just can't handle it.

I remember my first "proper" visit to London. I was going to Fashion Week on behalf of Look Magazine, they'd put me up in the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, and they'd even given me some money to go shopping with. On paper, it sounds like my Carrie Bradshaw dreams were coming true... and they were, but just not in the way I'd imagined.

In reality, I couldn't wait to come home, de-clog my skin and be able to walk along at a leisurely pace without getting knocked over by shoulder-shoving. I remember being shocked because passengers on the Victoria bus didn't thank the driver as they got off. Yep, I'm THAT girl.

I don't think I ever fully appreciated my life in the countryside as much as I did until a few years ago, but then again, I don't think many people do. Too often, we associate it with boredom, sheep and wellington boots, but it's not all that way, I promise. Here are some things we all need to appreciate about the countryside:

- - -

1. People are friendlier. Every time I go to the pub, I tend to find someone new to chat to. And *shock horror* their first point of conversation is not "so, what do you do then?". In my village, there is such a strong sense of community. All the residents have stories to tell, and they're all so proud of where they're from.

2. You can eat food that was grown pretty much next door. The veggies you ate for dinner last night were grown by the old man that lives down the road, not Waitrose. The fish you're cooking for date night was caught by your uncle. That "fresh organic produce" that city people pay a fortune for comes standard to you.

3. You're forced to take down time. You can't just "nip to Oxford Street" to get a last minute clubbing outfit at 9pm, because the shops shut at 6, and realistically, there probably isn't a Topshop for miles around anyway. Nothing is open on Sundays, you can't get phone signal, and when you order a Cosmopolitan at the bar, the response you get is: "Ey? Yawhat? Gerra pint o' bitter down ya neck". But this is all because people understand that it's more important to live your life than to work through it. A sign in my local pub says: "No we don't have WiFi. Have a conversation instead" - and how right they are!

4. People don't care about your appearance. I had a perfectly normal conversation with my neighbour yesterday whilst wearing pyjama bottoms, a top knot, and toothpaste on my chin spot. She didn't even bat an eyelid, bless her soul. You London folk judge me if I'm wearing 2013 Topshop.

5. You appreciate just how beautiful England is. Which is funny, seeing as London is the capital city. I think the countryside is where you really get to see the real England - its peace and tranquility... walking through the long grass just before the Farmer cuts it... taking a stroll along the canal... having a picnic in the middle of nowhere.

I love London, but I can never wait to get home to my countryside. Give me a pair of wellies over Louboutins every day (don't quote me on that...)