Kara Chelsie




Vogue: The Gown - Book Review

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Vogue: The Gown - Book Review

In my room, you'd find a lot of clothes squashed into my wardrobe, plants galore, old CDs (dating back to 1998) and fashion books. 

I remember when I first started getting into fashion, I persuaded my parents that I needed these books. I had to know the difference between Dior and Valentino. French and Italian fashion. What are timeless pieces and why were the 80s so great? 

After studying my A-Level textiles I haven't picked up those books since. I've left them on the shelf to collect dust and look pretty. I refuse to sell or give them away. Even though I've read cover to cover and they are quite thick books that take up a lot of room. I hold onto them like trophies, as they remind me of a time when I found my passion.

I have been very fortunate this week.
I was able to rekindle my love.
Vogue: The Gown.
By Jo Ellison.

It's difficult to recall the last time I read a book to find inspiration (apart from self-help and motivational ones). I normally scour Instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest for new visions. 

Vogue: The Gown reminded me how breathtaking fashion can be. It's not always about trends or what celebrities are wearing. The stunning photographs highlight that fashion is art. Wearable art. Something created purely by imagination and creativity. 

Normally when I look at magazines I can't help but gawk at the models. Not because I'm obsessed with their beauty or thinness, but because their faces are more prominent than the outfit. In this book, I can't keep my eyes off the gowns.

Reading Vogue: The Gown, I flicked through (actually I never 'flick', I treat all fashion books like its holy, I delicately turn the pages) in awe. I wish I could capture all of my favourite creations but this post would be immense. As the title suggests, you'd find inspiring and beautiful gowns that have been featured in Vogue over the years. Magical gowns that look like a fantasy. Bold and alluring silhouettes that cause drama. Outlandish and striking bundles of wild inventions that are somehow formed into dresses. You'll see it all.

 I was also noticing that some of my favourite photographers were featured such as Tim Walker, Nick Knight, Patrick Demarchelier and Mario Testino. Seeing Walker's photography brought back so much nostalgia. A memory of a simpler time when fashion, to me, was exciting and new!

I'm pretty sure this hefty book (oh did I mention that it is pretty mammoth?!) will not collect dust or be used for decoration. But by all means, if you want a glorious book for your coffee table then this will impress your guests!

I will turn to Vogue: The Gown to remind myself of the pleasure and excitement fashion can bring. It is an art form and not just a lavish interest. This book is a celebration of imagination brought to life. When I'm feeling uninspired or down-hearted by the disadvantages of being a creative, this book will remind me why I fell in love with fashion. 

The Truth About My Age

Friday, 8 September 2017

The Truth About My Age

A few weeks back I was listening to the High Low podcast (click here to read more of my favourite podcasts!). Dolly Alderton convinced us that she has a friend who was born at the age of 40 years old. She explained throughout their friendship her bestie has always had a very mature taste and is mocked for being a granny. 

This made me wonder about my age.

My most frequent emojis on my phone are: pink heart with those yellow diamonds, love heart eyes face, rolling eyes face, unamused face, lightning bolt, the shooting/swirly star and grandma emoji.

The grandma emoji is my favourite representation of myself. It's the one I put next to "sorry I didn't reply, I fell asleep," text.

I'm 22 years old. And that's certain. Sorry if the title was a bit of a clickbait, my passport and birth certificate all confirmed that I was born in 1994. 

I'm just pondering - what age do I act like? 

I get told that I look like I'm about 16-19 years old. Sometimes even 14, but I'm not quite sure if they are over-exaggerating. I try so hard not to flare my nostrils when people say, "22? But you look like a baby!" The other day my spinning instructor guessed I was about 21 years old. I wanted to hug her, but I resisted, I was drenched in sweat. Also, that would be weird to hug someone because they nearly guessed your age correctly. 

I assure myself that looking young is a good thing. It's okay because I'll look 28 when I'm actually 48. It's okay because I'm sure Selena Gomez gets this all time. And it's okay that I get ID for buying alcohol or lottery tickets (FYI you have to be 16 to buy them). 

But when it comes down to my personality. I'm pretty sure I'm not 22. 

Things I like to do that a normal 22-year-old wouldn't:
  • Drink Gin - So it's becoming a popular beverage lately. But I'm pretty sure it was only me asking for a double gin and tonic at the student club, whilst Pitbull and David Guetta played in the background.

  • Watching Location, Location, Location - When I was young I absolutely remember moaning to my parents about how boring it was. Over a decade later I find myself addicted. Most people binge watch Game of Thrones, Friends or Narcos. Mine is Phil and Kirstie working their magic on finding people's dream properties. 

  • DISCO DISCO DISCO - My current music genre obsession is D-I-S-C-O. I found myself blasting "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" at the gym to get me pumped this week. 

  • Cancelled Plans - "Sorry Kara, I can't make it anymore tonight!" is music to my ears.

  • Not Completely Understanding How Tinder Works - So once you've swiped 'no' they are gone forever? And why doesn't anyone browse through all of their photos, one picture will suffice?

  • In A Long Term Relationship - Not sure if this is a mature thing about my life, but we act like a married couple.

  • In Love With The Countryside - I can picture myself living miles away from everyone else. I wouldn't want to spend my entire life like that, but I would like to be surrounded by nature and silence. 

  • Obsession With Plants - I have 9 babies in my room (my plants are my children and yes, I name them). That's just in my room. I have managed to plot some other younguns around the house. Replotting plants and buying pots give me goosebumps. I'm always on the look out for more to add to my collection. I aspire to have a house like Kate's from Tribe And Us. I'm definitely going to do a blog post on the type of plants I have already.

  • Pub Sessions - A night at the pub would be more amusing if I could afford more than two pints. I end up hugging on to each glass, slowly sipping the warm brew. 

  • Sleeping Before 12am - *INSERT GRANNY EMOJI* But honestly, try it out for a week. You'll feel sooo much better. I'm actually a 'morning person', but how would I have known if I woke up just before midday all the time? 

  • Going On Pointless Walks - Talking and walking... the best kind of conversations. 

  • I Get Cold Easily - Pass the cardigan! You'll find scarfs and hats in my bag, whatever the weather.

  • Adore Everything Vintage - cars, films, fashion... you name it! My family have known that for years. Anything in an archaic style they say "Kara would like that!"

  • My mindset - If you didn't get the memo already I am genuinely a mature person. The best advice I have received is from people older than me. I tend not to worry about the future because I know I'm in my prime time and everything is going to be ok

What age would you think I was if you just read those bullet points? I'd say over 40 years old! 

Hope you enjoyed this little getting to know me post. If you had to ponder on your actual age or the age of your personality, what would your number be?

Top, Necklace - Mango
Skirt - Zara 
Boots - Marks & Spencer

Beware of the Two-Faced Millennials

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Beware of the Two-Faced Millennials

I watched The Life of Kylie (Jenner) last week. I'm not a big fan of hers or her sister, but I was in the mood to be bitchy. I admit I wanted to have a lil moan in order to make myself feel better. She'll never know that I think she's boring or fake but it makes me feel soooo good screaming at the telly, "you're so plastic!"

Kylie pouted her way through the whole episode drawing on personal issues. She acknowledged why she is so popular on social media. Her cars, her rapper boyfriends, her mansion, her dogs, her body, her face... She knows we all want her #perfect life, that is why she is just shy of under 100 million followers on Instagram.

And then she proceeded to say how she wishes she was normal and had a mundane life. But that only led me to shout even louder "then why are you creating a new reality show? Normal people don't do that!"

I was ready to turn the TV off until she said, "I’m kind of putting up a version of myself to the world that isn’t fully me … it [criticism] doesn’t really hurt me because I know that that’s not really me."

How sad. I stopped shouting at the screen and whispered - how sad.

Wealth and fame come with a side dish of criticism. I'm sure her sisters and mother have warned her on that.

In my opinion, she tackles obloquy in a misguided manner.

Let me get this right. So... she won't show her true identity to the world because she knows she'll get ridiculed? But the majority of backlash she receives scream that 'she's fake'. Her monologue revealed she's showing her fans a fabricated version of herself.

Then that means the censure is completely spot on. She is being fake. We can tell she's not being the real Kylie and we hate that. We've seen many celebrities in our twenty-first-century life and we can spot a fake one galaxies away.

I'm sure if she acted more like herself people wouldn't dislike her so much. I know I would prefer to see the girl who used to share silly vines and experiment with fashion styles. But we don't see that girl anymore because it's easier to show another identity online. Another identity that guarantees everyone will find her perfect and sexy.

Kylie isn't the only person on social media to do this.

Don't we all hesitant to share things online because we don't want to be made fun out of?

I haven't done an outfit post on this blog for a while because I feel awkward sharing photographs of me even though I enjoy showing you my personal style.

Therefore I'd rather create a different online representation of myself because I'm embarrassed to show my genuine interests.

And then I realised. Kylie's strategy of not being her authentic self is why social media can be so damaging. People want likes and followers, therefore they create a fictitious online figure. One that looks prettier and happier. So when it comes to evaluating your life and your social media life - we see two faces.

I wish social media was a place for creativity or showing your friends what you've been doing (in a very humble approach). Not a place where it was about who's following who. Showing phoney identities to be popular. I sound like that sad girl in Mean Girls who wished everyone would just get along!

But surely, wouldn't you feel better having nearly 100 million followers (or even 1 million!) who followed you for who you are? Instead of people loving you for the person you are not. It shows that being yourself will always win.

Instead, we're playing the game.

We like to pretend we're #lovinglife when in fact we're pretty miserable. But if you think we're #lovinglife then that makes us feel a bit better. Who wants to show they're sad online? Nobody wanna see that! That's not fashun!

Beware of the two faced Millennials.

This creative outlet is meant to be for us. A place where we can express ourselves. Why are displaying fake representations? It only makes us feel worse. If the internet isn't a place where we can present our true image, then there are not many places left for us to do so.

This blog post may seem a bit confusing but all I'm trying to say is that...

I solemnly swear to always show my true emotions and authentic interests. I will not think about what others will think (Elizabeth Gilbert has definitely helped me in doing so) and never present a false image of myself online. So that means, I'm doing more fashion outfit posts and less hiding behind the camera! My two faces will be one. What you see on the screen is what you get in real life.

 I'm such a big fan of honest bloggers right now like Karina Woodburn, Chloe Plumstead, Cait Taylor. They tell it how it is. And not afraid to admit their struggles. Reading their blogs makes me realise I'm not alone and no-one has a perfect life.

*Cue in the uplifting music!*

Top - Zara
Ears - Mango
Goosebumps - From the excitement of what is to come on this blog!

What Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic' Taught Me

Thursday, 10 August 2017

What Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic' Taught Me

This probably isn't the first blog post you've read about Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic'. I call it the blogger hand book, as it gets creative thinkers out of the funk.

But 'Big Magic' isn't only for people who label themselves as gifted. It is a guide to think creatively.

Gilbert teaches you how to think diversely from our standard, pessimistic, anxious and negative thoughts.

One of her valuable approaches, out of the countless practices to live a creative life, is to expect the best instead of the worse. What happens if the project that you've been afraid to tell anyone about is actually a genius idea? You've got a blog idea - go for it - even though there are zillions of blogs out there, there isn't one that is crafted by you. Who knows, you could have the most viewed lifestyle blog! You could have a YouTube page that holds more subscribers than Zoella! You will never know unless you start creating.

But don't worry or kick yourself if something bad happens as a result of you taking a chance. Because the world will continue to spin and the birds will carry on singing.

Gilbert highlights that our fear is overpowering and prevents us from taking more opportunities.

Somehow, a woman I have never met before has grasped exactly why I doubt myself in doing more creative things. She knows that I'm afraid of what people will say about my work. She knows that I can be a perfectionist, therefore, I won't do anything because I'm scared I will fail. She knows being creativity is more than a hobby, it is essential in my life.

If you haven't read it already, I don't know what you're waiting for. It'll be your 'go-to' when you're feeling uninspired or doubtful. I could write so much more about Gilbert's work of wonder but I think I'll leave it to her.

Here are some of my treasured quotes to lift your spirits.

"But such thinking assumes there is a 'top' - and that reaching the top (and staying there) is the only motive one has to create. Such thinking assumes that the mysteries of inspiration operate on the same scale that we do - on a limited human scales of success and failure, of winning and losing, of comparison and competition, of commerce and reputation, of units sold and influence wielded."

This quote reminds me that it's not all about winning. Not every single product of your creativity has to be popular, successful or loved. She later on writes:

"Creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience"

If your unpopular work is weighing you down, just remember that inspiration is magic, and we should feel grateful that we can create things, good or bad.

 She wishes that her favourite writers, Harper Lee and F Scott Fitzgerald, should have written "anything and put it out there with reckless abandon... ignore the outcome." She would have loved to read more of their work, no matter if it was rubbish, she longed to have a larger collection of their novels. 

"Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don't even bother trying to be creative in the first place."

Now, Gilbert is definitely talking to me about this:

"Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you. Keep in mind that for the most of history people just made things, and they didn't make such a big freaking deal of it. We make things because we like making things."

I don't think I need to explain that one. Why do we constantly take ourselves so seriously? I stopped blogging for a while because I didn't think I was good enough. But as soon as I got back into it, I hated that I stopped. I love blogging because I can express myself, not because I want to get views or comments. It is my hobby because I love to write. It is only a plus (not essential) when I see people have read it.

"You not required to save the world with your creativity."

I told my friend Ruby that the other day. She said she wants to create films but believe that she needs to help people instead. That's so wonderful of her. So selfless and charitable. But I told her, thanks to Gilbert, that helping others shouldn't stop you from creating what you want to create. Gilbert wrote 'Eat, Pray, Love' for herself. Totally for herself. And miraculously she has helped and supported so many readers even though it wasn't meant to be a self-help novel!

Gilbert says if we base our lives on aiding others with our creative work - we will never be truly happy. There will always be some one out there who needs rescuing. That is a ton of weight to put on your shoulders.

"It's okay if your work is fun for you... healing for you... or totally frivolous. That's allowed. It's all allowed."

It's absolutely brilliant that there are people willing to place themselves last. But it shouldn't stop you from doing what you've dreamed about.

"Your own reasons to create are reason enough. Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty."

The best evidence to bloggers trying to become full-time professional bloggers is: don't do it for the money. You'll be disappointed by how much work you'll have to put in. You'll be disheartened that your views aren't increasing. So do it for the love of creating.

"The rewards had to come from the eternal results - I knew that. The rewards had to come from the joy of puzzling out the work itself... If someday I got lucky enough to be paid for my work, that would be great, but in the meantime, money could always come from other places."

Gilbert had me kissing the book when I read this evidence:

"You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry all that much about you. Go be whoever you want to be. Do whatever you want to do."

This is when I realised I need to leave fear at home, tuck it in bed, and go to the party. Having fear and anxiety about what others think shouldn't be a reason to stop us from producing.

I would love love love to write more about my reflections on Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic', but I think I'll leave that to you to discover more. I'm sure I'll be mentioning this book again (and I have already) throughout my writing because it is honestly a game-changer.

After each and every chapter I found myself going 'ahhh, that's so true! I never thought of it like that!'


If anyone else knows of any other books that are similar to this, please let me know!

If you already have an extensive reading list and there's not enough room for another. I'd advise you to watch this interview of Gilbert with Marie Forleo.

Photos were taken at Clerkenwell Grind.

Stagolee's Restaurant Review - Southern American Cuisine

Monday, 24 July 2017

Stagolee's Restaurant Review - Southern American Cuisine

The deep south has landed in Fulham. And it's hotter than you can imagine.

The Texan and Tennessee natives Ashley James and Jordan Harris have graced London with an exciting new flavour. Stagolee's - an authentic southern American chicken and liquor joint.

I'm tired, so very tired, of lacklustre and soul-less meals. Isn't southern food supposed to be cooked with spice, comfort and tastes just like Mama makes it? So why is London, the foodie capital lacking a true representation of African-American cuisines? We know all about their music and culture, but we cannot taste their lifestyle.

I was so delighted to have been invited to Stagolee's Restaurant tasting night. It was fantastic to have met another food blogger, Haydy!

My bestie, Ruby and I entered the hot joint leaving our calorie-counting minds behind because we were ready for the comforting taste of the deep south.

We were treated to the familiar fried chicken with mac n cheese. However, the flavours that bounced on my taste buds weren't so familiar. I thought it would be like any other chicken and mac I've had before. I'm glad I was so wrong.

The hot chicken didn't burn my mouth, as Ashley warned us to eat with caution. But I could taste the heat coming from the delicious and enticing spices. The mac was creamy and cheesy and soaked in goodness. At long last, I had an opportunity where I could try Collard Greens! I've heard about it in so many rap songs, and now I know why they're all singing about it.

After the starters, deviled eggs and cheesy crap dips, I WAS FULL. Full to the brim. No more could travel down my oesophagus.

And then they brought out a team of key lime pie and fried doughnut balls. They sat there, looking smug, they knew I couldn't resist. Somehow the key lime pie slid into my stomach very easily. Could it be the smoothness of the cream or the bittersweetness from the lime? I don't know. Ashley must have put some magic in her food.

She assures to everyone that everything on the menu is made from scratch. She was proud of that. And so she should be. Everything is guaranteed to be made from her love and passion for food. She created Stagolee's menu from her grandma's recipes. You can't get any more authentic than that.

There is one thing that makes me want to come back to Stagolee's faster than you can say, 'get in ma belly!' Moonshine. Yep, they serve Moonshine there. Remember those hillbillies in The Simpsons that always seem drunk? They're chugging on a bottle with three X's written on it. The magical Moonshine. It reminded me of whisky but less harsh and a lot smoother. Their moonshine cocktails are notoriously impressive. Jordan offered Ruby a shot of that magic and then she had to chase it down with watermelon juice. She did not even flinch - she asked for more.

And already, Ruby has been back! She enjoyed Stagolee's Bottomless Brunch. She texted me saying she got 'absolutely f**king hammered' and sent me a picture of her food captioning it 'f**k yes'.
I guess we can imagine she loved it, even more, the second time round.

I can't get the hot fried chicken flavours off my taste buds. I think that's a message I need to have a second visit. Am I an addict now? Let's call it chicken crack.

If you're ever in the West London area or need a 'pick me up' meal packed with sensational and authentic food. Go to Stagolee's London Restaurant. Also, you'll fall in love with the staff there. Their excitable personality's match the joy of the food.

Slovenia Travel Guide / Day Two

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Slovenia Travel Guide / Day Two

I am counting down the days until I go on my summer holiday. 9 days precisely. I'll be heading out to Minorca, Spain, for 6 nights.

I'm dreaming about showering 2 - 3 times a day (because the sweat will refuse to leave my skin), deciding how many flip flops I need to pack, drinking more beer than water, eating chips probably every day and getting used to constant Spanish heat.

But before I start to blog about my up-and-coming getaway I need to finish my Slovenia Travel Guide!

Day two, out of three, was the definitely the busiest day. My FitBit was confused, "I didn't know a person could do this much walking?" 

We started the morning hiring a car to travel towards the coast of Slovenia. If you've read my post beforehand you'd understand how diverse the Slovenian landscape is. Our plan was to go to Skocjan Cave and then to the old coastal town Piran. Cave exploring, then seaside strolling! All in one afternoon.

Skocjan isn't the only cave Slovenia possesses. There is an abundance of underground travelling locations in this leafy country. I've never been on a subterranean adventure before. Therefore I had no idea how frightening it would be. 

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any photos. I don't think my camera would have been able to capture the vastness and darkness of the natural wonder. 

We entered through a man-made passage, which led us to another trail amongst weird formations that are thousands of years old. At this point, I thought that was what the Skocjan cave had to offer. Just a walking guide to see some old rocky things. What I didn't know was that we were walking deeper and deeper into the Earth. 

As the tour guide led us down the pathway, pointing out how those strange formations were formed, her voice began to echo. I could hear an immense gush of falling water. Her voice echoed even more as she dragged us further along. And then crashing of the waterfall engulfed her speech. I stood there in absolute silence. My whole back shivered, my knees shook and my grip clung on tighter to the trusted rail. 

We were standing on a cliff, in the underground canyon. 

How is it possible to find a waterfall underground? How is it possible to be underground but it feels like you're on top of the world?

I will direct you to photos of this Indiana Jones-esque cave, it gives me goosebumps reflecting on my experience. 

And as the tour drew to a close, I could see a beam of light entering the cave. I've never been so happy to see light and the sky. We took a small hike back up to the car and started another journey to Piran. 

Piran is a gorgeous Italian inspired town. This Mediterranean hot spot is rich with colour and history. Plenty of picturesque buildings right next to the glowing blue sea. And across the sea, you'd find Venice, perched right opposite like neighbours. 

This is why I would highly recommend Slovenia. It has every activity and landscape you'd want. I needed a quiet and old town after the intense excursion. I needed fresh seafood and lots of Aperol Spritz right by the water. I needed a long sigh and a location where I could rest my feet from the day's adventure.