The Stylinguist



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Comparison in the digital world

Image of laptop depicting digital world

This is a topic that has been floating around the blogosphere and social media a lot recently. In a way, I didn't want to give it the air time but you know what they say, it's good to talk. So let's grab a cuppa and have a chat. I think there is, and always will be, an element of comparison in life such as comparing our lives to those of our parents, our friends, our siblings and other people we look up to. A little bit of comparison can be healthy, like looking at how times have changed since our parents were our age, seeing how well our friends are doing and congratulating them for their achievements. So when does it become unhealthy? I suppose when we start applying everything to our lives and seeing the negatives. I've always been pretty happy and grateful - from doing well at school and University, to going on holiday, my career opportunities and blogging. However recently, I started to compare everything. And I started to feel like I was being compared to others by others, like I was being held up against others. And that is not a nice feeling.

I'm fairly competitive and always have been. Being held up against someone else, being compared to someone else, would only spur me on to either distance myself and be as different as possible (how will you compare me then?) or work my arse off to better, to be the best. I guess I am still very much in that mindset, especially with work, which makes me work harder, focus more and learn quicker. However, comparison is not healthy guys and girls. Especially when it comes to your personal life. And social media/blogging seems to be fueling the idea of a perfect life. A perfect home, face, clothes, body. A life full of perfect holidays in perfect destinations with perfect people. Perfect, unreal, unattainable lives. 

There's a huge part of me that feels for the teens of today (blimey, I sound like a right old lady at the grand age of 26!) But seriously, being a teenager was hard enough with just MySpace and MSN (please tell me you know what those are otherwise I will genuinely feel ancient) but throw in Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube and you have constant, 24/7 stream of perfectly curated lives. Perfectly curated people. A lot of bloggers have spoken out about this unrealistic view and how expectations are unreasonably high on social media. Don't get me wrong, I love scrolling through travel accounts/bloggers on Instagram, drooling over their sunset photos, hearing about places I never even knew existed. I love following fellow fashion and lifestyle bloggers who showcase an outfit that you would never think of putting together and they absolutely own it. But all of this perfection, all of these filters, can give an unrealistic expectation of life and what it should be like. There's no 'behind-the-scenes'. And I can definitely be guilty of this, after all, who wants to hear you've had a snotty cold for two weeks or you've woken up with the biggest pillow crease on your face (and it's still there two hours later...)

I fell out of love with my blog for a little while. My blog has always been my calm place. My happy place. But lately I feel like I'm being compared to others and I feel like I'm coming up short every time. I've always loved creating content, honing my photography and spending time writing. I was always a bookworm growing up, always reading and writing. I loved my English Lit classes at school and have a notepad bursting with ideas. Writing was my thing. And photography became a love of mine at University. I know these aren't exclusive to me, hell I'm probably one of millions who write, blog and take photos - and that's a wonderful feeling. To know there are people just like you out there....the blogosphere really can be a fabulous little community sometimes.

But having something that felt like mine, that was mine, being compared against others with the measure of success being how many freebies you receive and being judged by your follower count regardless of the volume and quality of actual content/readers/views/engagement you have. That's hard. As someone who works in digital marketing, there are so many more ways to measure success these days rather than purely follower counts, and every person and every blog is different. Isn't that the beauty of it? This used to be my happy place, but it turned into something that I couldn't even look at or bring myself to post on because what was the point? That sort of negativity is not healthy and you know what, the saying is completely true. Negativity breeds negativity.

So here's hoping, if you've stuck with me this far, that I haven't depressed the hell out of you! I've started to think of comparison as like a friend with a bad cold; keep them at arms length and you'll be just fine. Be inspired by others, celebrate their achievements (because remember what it feels like for you to reach a milestone whether it's in your career, blog or personal life), surround yourself with supportive positive people, support others (because isn't it amazing to see the people you love excel?) and most importantly keep a realistic outlook on life. Repeat after me: I AM NOT BEYONCE. I'm kidding, and I'm sure even BeyoncĂ© has bad days...(?!) At the end of the day, you have no idea what is really going on behind the lens and sometimes we need to take a bit of time out to be grateful for what we have, not spending time comparing ourselves to others. And to finish off with a blooming great quote, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you." Cheers Dr. Seuss, you wise owl. 

Katie x

P.S. Here are some great reads along the lines of this topic if you fancy delving deeper. I love Josie's post about the rise of the micro-influencer and how being a smaller blogger/having a smaller follower count doesn't mean you're less important or not good enough for the blogging world. I also stumbled across Abigail's inspiring post about comparing yourself to others and how to stop - definitely a must read!


Casual peplum

Spring, sunshine and Sunday! Three of my favourite things. I'm slowly getting back in to fashion blogging after the house move and we went location scouting today which resulted in stumbling across a cute woods not far from our new house. Moving really threw my blogging schedule out so I have lots to catch up on, including chatting about the return of the peplum trend. This was a trend I fell head over heels for a few years ago when it was doing the rounds and I'm glad to see it's made a return. This season has me obsessing over anything with frills or ruffles, so the peplum trend fits right in! 

The crew neck, soft grey shade and slightly baggy style of this t-shirt gives the peplum trend a casual twist - plus it's perfect for throwing on with jeans for an effortless Sunday look. This purchase was a bit impulsive for me, especially as I usually steer clear of oversized tees in fear of looking like a child wearing a way-too-big top (like the ones you used to have to wear from lost property if you forgot your PE kit!) I think because this tee has a round neck and fairly fitted sleeves it doesn't seem to swamp me like other oversized styles. And the peplum throws a bit of tailored sass in there too. 

This week has been so warm that I've actually managed to leave the house without my winter coat which is amazing! My feet haven't braved the outside world yet though, they'll probably stay in boots for just a little longer. Don't need to inflict my pale tootsies on anyone just yet. I've probably said it before but as a spring baby, I really do love this season. I'd pick jeans and t-shirt weather over sweltering hot weather any day! 

Hope you've had a fab weekend whatever you've been up to. How do you feel about the return of the peplum trend?

Katie x


Lazy Sunday

Life update time! I'm not exactly one for chatting about life on my blog, I like to just tootle along and get on with things. However my radio silence across social media and the blog means we are probably long overdue a catch up! My boyfriend and I moved from our little rented flat in town and are now the proud owners of a little two bed house out in a rural village. I'm a country girl at heart, so it's absolute bliss. Our weekends and evenings are filled with adult stuff like putting up blinds (it took us four and a half hours to put up ONE BLIND. We are really not made for DIY), putting tables together and we've practically been living in Homebase and B&Q for the past few weeks. They even know us by name!

The actual moving house was quite fun and not as stressful as I thought it would be. Although spending days without internet meant my EE bill was through the roof and I had a nightmare trying to find some socks as I'd packed them all away. (Top tip: LABEL YOUR BOXES). We have also  spent our evenings creating a filing system for everything house related and updating my trusty spreadsheet. WELCOME TO ADULTHOOD! That said, we are very happy and settled, even if we can't remember what it was like to chill. I have so many episodes of Riverdale to catch up on so I'm avoiding Twitter as much as I can - no spoilers please!

We're loving geometric patterns and texture to add some warmth to our teal and grey colour scheme

I've included a couple of sneak peeks above but I'm hoping to write/film a house tour if anyone is as nosey as I am about interiors! We were pretty lucky as we chose a new build so had the chance to pick out our kitchen, bathroom and flooring which was not only fun as we got to channel our inner Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen, but it was great as we got to personalise our house and have it decorated before we moved in. Definitely a stress we wanted to avoid! I'm still getting used to the new house - whilst it feels so homely, it is so much quieter than living in town, plus I'm getting such a workout now that we have stairs after three years of living in a flat!

I have a few outfit shoots coming up in the next few weeks so I promise to get back to the fashion side of blogging. Just as soon as I've finished being a proper adult boarding out the loft, sorting out the garden and building some more flatpack furniture! Hope you're having a lovely weekend and enjoying this sunshine - can we just appreciate that spring is definitely on its way!

Katie x


Lace up jumper

Another knitwear post, sorry, roll on spring! I turn in to such a jumper and jeans girl over winter. This lattice jumper from New Look is the latest addition to my already-bursting-at-the-seams winter wardrobe. I have to say, New Look is absolutely owning it with their winter collection! I was a fan of the lace up trend last summer and luckily it's a trend with longevity, living on in the form of snuggly winter knitwear. 

Image of a lace up jumper from New Look

At the moment, I'm all about comfy knitwear like this lattice lace up jumper. I've spent the weekend boxing up our flat as we're moving in to our first house next week - the excitement is real guys and girls! We've been waiting for our house for almost a year so we are literally like kids at Christmas right now. It's been a full on few days of boxing everything up, throwing out loads of stuff and bagging up clothes for charity (11 bags to be precise! Me? A hoarder? Never). Needless to say, cosy knitwear and stretchy skinny jeans have been an absolute necessity this weekend.

Image of a New Look lace up jumper

I really should have left blog photos for a day when I didn't look physically and mentally drained...but instead you have my tired little face to look at, you lucky lot! I'll be honest, this weekend has been absolutely exhausting but hey, I'm still smiling! Heads up though - the blog might be a little quiet over the next week during the move but I'll get some new posts and maybe a cheeky house tour up as soon as I can. 

Hope you're having a good week/weekend lovelies! What do you think of this lace up jumper?

Katie x


Warner Bros. Studio Tour review

I've probably mentioned it here and there, but for those of you who haven't caught on, I'm quite the Harry Potter fan. Not in a creepy way (I haven't turned my bedroom in to the Gryffindor common room...yet) but I have always been in complete awe of the world J.K. Rowling created. Call me a fan girl, but it amazes me how one woman's imagination can create something so huge. 

Aged 11, sat on velvet purple armchair (at a holiday cottage! The velvet armchair wasn't ours, although that would probably be deemed pretty cool and quirky these days), my mum handed me the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I've always been a bookworm and spent every holiday with my head in a book, but nothing had ever gripped me to the point where I couldn't put it down...until Harry Potter came along. I stayed up late and woke up early to snuggle back in that armchair with my book (well, snuggle as well as you could on something velvet). The day I finished the first Harry Potter book, I put it down and begged my mum to find the sequel.

Being a bookworm, the books will always win over the film for me but I do adore the films and I think they've really done the books and characters justice. Visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour was definitely on my last of things to do. I had visited about three years ago and loved every minute, but last weekend I got to go again with my family for my dad's Christmas present (he also happens to love Harry Potter!) And oh my, it's even better second time round.

They have a few new areas such as the Hogwarts Express and platform 9 3/4 (which is absolutely epic by the way. I literally felt like I'd just stepped in to the station). And they have the Forbidden Forest opening in March! Is it acceptable to go for a third time? Asking for a friend...This time round I spent more time reading the facts and paying way more attention, rather than running round like an overexcited child (although there was a little bit of that involved). The detail is absolutely insane - from 500 handwritten labels on the potion bottles to writing the names of the crew on all 4000 wand boxes as a tribute to them. Every little detail had been planned to perfection and looked so realistic. From the troll masks to the animatronics, screaming mandrakes and of course my absolute fave, little Dobby!

I'm trying not to give too much away but the full scale Hogwarts model is something to behold. Probably helped by some dramatic lighting and glorious triumphant music! My brother isn't the biggest fan of Harry Potter (I know, shame on him) but he loved the tour so don't worry if you're not obsessed. If you love films and behind the scenes stuff, you'll probably still enjoy it! Have a read about my brother's a muggle's take on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour over on his blog, Sam Squire.

Top tips for visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour:
  • Take a camera! And make sure it's charged (that's a dig at my dad, who ran out of battery halfway round!) (EDIT: he didn't run out of battery, his camera did...)
  • Dress accordingly - it's a fairly decent temperature in there but there is an outside area so if it's cold (or snowing like it was for us!) take some layers.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time! We took about 2 and a half hours. Although apparently one person took 13 hours. It's amazing but c'mon, 13 HOURS?!
  • Plan your meals ahead - there's a cafe in reception and a small cafe about halfway round which are great for a cuppa and cake (gluten free cake too!) but I'd probably take my own lunch next time.
  • Be comfy - you're going to be walking around for a few hours. I wore my heeled boots which probably wasn't my brightest idea.
  • Get there early! They recommend getting their about 20 minutes early. We arrived 45 mins early and had a cuppa and some cake. To be honest, any day that starts with cake at 10am is going to be good.
  • DO. NOT. TAKE. A. HEAVY. BAG. My arm had nearly dropped off by the time we had finished. 

Enjoy! Have you ever been? And if so, what did you think?

Katie x