Blogs

My Barcelona Guide

Hey all!

I’m finally getting round to blogging again after starting a new job (actually 2 jobs) earlier on this year.

I wanted to start things off with my Barcelona Guide. Last month at the start of July, my sister and I went on a 3-day city break to Barcelona! It was the most amazing trip mixed with both relaxation and lots of sightseeing. We arrived at our hotel around 10pm Sunday night and then headed back to Scotland at 9pm Wednesday night.

What we did:

Monday

 On the first day, we were keen to do some sightseeing, especially as the weather was a bit cloudy. We firstly headed off to Brunch & Cake for brunch (possibly the most instagramable café we came across) before heading to our first stop, the Sagrada Familia. To get about we got ourselves a 3-day metro pass for around £30 each. This was the best decision ever as the metro can get you anywhere in Barcelona and it is really easy to use (I’d recommend just buying your ticket at the station as opposed to online as it is slightly cheaper).

The Sagrada Familia was as amazing as you’d expect. With it being ‘peak tourist season’ it was super busy so to get a good view (and a good pic) I’d say go to the park that is a bit further in front of the building (you’ll see what I mean).

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Then we went to a café to have some Fanta Lemon and Patatas Bravas (perfect combo) and headed back on the metro to a food market called ‘La Boqueria’. There was everything from smoothies to meat to churros to fruit cups. I have never felt so hungry in my life! We got some churros and a smoothie and then headed back on the metro to our hotel.

In the evening, we headed to ‘El Nacional Barra de Vins’ which is a massive beautiful building filled with bars and restaurants. We had some wine and cheese followed by a vegetable tart and then went for cocktails before heading home.

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Tuesday

 On Tuesday, we got the metro early to the beach. We went to La Barceloneta which is the main beach in Barcelona with lots of bars and restaurants around. The beach is really busy, so if you aren’t keen on that I’d try and find a quieter one, but we were quite happy chilling there most of the day!

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In the evening, we planned to go to a cool rooftop bar but it was fully booked so we had to find an alternative plan. We happened to stumble across the most amazing little restaurant called ‘Bristol Gastropub’. The food was amazing and we were actually really happy we didn’t get into the bar as we wouldn’t have found that hidden gem!

Wednesday

 On the last day, my sister told me we were going to a park called Park Guell. I packed my book and a throw to lie on thinking we were going to a nice green park to chill… however it happened to be a full-blown hike up the side of what looked like a mountain (I was also wearing my very pretty but completely impractical sandals)! It was about 30 degrees when we arrived and the walk was hard but the views were truly amazing! I’d definitely recommend going, but when it’s less hot and wear some trainers!

We then got some food and headed back to the hotel before heading on the plane home.

Accommodation

 We managed to get a really good deal for our hotel and flights on lastminute.com. We stayed at a hotel called Sunotel Central. It was a perfectly lovely hotel in a really good location and not too expensive!

I couldn’t recommend Barcelona enough. It’s one of those cities that really grows on you and is just super cool!Let me know if you have any questions about Barcelona and if you are going soon – enjoy!

All my love,

Rachael x

 

 

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A little insight into ‘fast-fashion’, and what we can do about it

So, after an amazing response to my Instagram stories, I have decided to write a blog post about fast fashion- looking at what it is and what can be done about it. I studied business management at University and in my last year I decided to carry out my dissertation on the topic, titled: “An Exploration into How to Overcome ‘Fast Fashion’ by Engaging Young Consumers in ‘Ethical Fashion’ Through Marketing”. Through this study I essentially wanted to look into consumer behaviour when it comes to fashion and then use business strategies (mainly marketing) to see whether we could move young consumers away from fast fashion. What astonished me was that people didn’t really know what fast fashion was when I was carrying out my studies- yes, they had heard of the term but didn’t really know what it was. So, I thought I would start by outlining exactly what it is, and what we can do to reduce its harmful effects.

Disclaimer: before I start, I am aware I still wear fast fashion brands on my blog, but the point I’m making is I want to start getting a little better at being mindful of what I wear so this is my starting point.

 

What is ‘fast fashion’?

 

The ‘fast fashion’ trend is described as “low-cost clothing collections that mimic current luxury fashion trends” (Joy et al., 2012, pp 273). Fast fashion companies turn around new styles from the design room to shop floor within 2 weeks, which allows retailers to generate high profits selling large quantities of low-priced clothing to consumers looking for something new to wear every week. However, this trend has an unethical side that needs to be addressed- both socially and environmentally. The social unethical side of fast fashion is related to production and manufacturing as most fast fashion garments are produced in developing countries, normally by low paid labour. This means lower costs overall for companies, resulting in lower prices for consumers, thus, leading to a higher number of sales.  In terms of environmental issues- fast fashion systemsuse large amounts of water and chemicals and emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases and is known to be the second highest polluter in the world behind oil. Furthermore with 1,000,000,000kg of clothes being disposed to landfills every year, very few clothes are being recycled (Morgan and Birtwistle, 2009). What really shocked me is that fast fashion is the second largest polluter worldwide behind oil, so we really need to start being pro-active about this issue.

 

 

What can be done

 

There are lots that can be done to reduce the issue:

  • Buy second hand- charity shops are amazing.
  • Recycle and donate old clothing as opposed to throwing it away.
  • Reduce consumption- this is a big one. If we were all to at least half the clothing we purchase, we would make a massive difference.
  • Buy from sustainable clothing brands- there are some great brands out there such as Matt and Nat and People Tree- however they are expensive. Nobody’s Child is a sustainable brand that isn’t too expensive so I am going to start shopping there a little more!
  • There is talk of implementing a tax onto producers to pay 1p for every garment made that goes towards better waste collection.

 

My personal opinion on the matter

 

  • From studying this area extensively, I have quite a few opinions on the matter
    • 1) Firstly, I do think implementing a tax for manufacturers is a good idea as that can be put towards better waste collection and hopefully reduce landfills being used for fashion waste. However, I think more needs to be done than that. The issue also lies with consumerism- we as consumers respond to trends etc but ultimately it is the suppliers and manufacturers who respond to our demand. The more we demand, the more manufacturers will produce and this just ends up creating a vicious circle.
    • 2) There needs to be more education around the area of fast fashion and consumers need to be shown a more ethical solution. We have seen first-hand a massive response to reducing plastic waste and lots of people are turning vegan for our planet – people want to do good, and that is because they are witnessing the harm of our planet. We have seen restaurants and companies scrap plastic straws for paper ones, and even well-establish food companies respond to the growing demand for vegan food (Greggs being one of them). So, it is possible as consumers to demand for businesses to give a more ethical and sustainable fashion option
    • 3) But how do we do this? We as consumers have the power to change our buying habits thus changing how much manufacturers make. Small steps to begin with such as buying less clothing, swapping to ethical brands, buying second-hand and donating to charity will make a big difference. Coming from a business point of view, I think a lot can be done. My hope is that current brands may see a shift in what consumers want and hopefully follow a more sustainable business strategy. As for already established sustainable brands, a few things need to change. Firstly, the pricing of these brands need to reduce a little bit as consumers are generally price sensitive. Secondly, these brands need to go about their marketing a little better. A lot of them are still not very well known, so perhaps getting involved with the social media movement (the way fast-fashion has) would help. I think there is also a stigma around these sustainable brands being not very fashionable and ‘hippy’, so perhaps finding a right balance between trendy but also sustainable would be ideal.

 

Moving forward

  • As a blogger, I will definitely be incorporating these thoughts into my content. I want to show a more sustainable way of being fashionable. I started the year by sharing that I was going to buy less, and whilst that has reduced my content (as I’ve had less outfits to post), I’m hoping to find ways to incorporate sustainable yet fashionable content to build it back up.
  • I don’t want to lose the fashion aspect of my blog. Fashion makes me happy so I will continue to shop, but I will buy less and be a bit more mindful.
  • I am going to look into more sustainable brands.
  • Finally, I want to make the point that my blog won’t be about constant pressure to be sustainable, as that can be a bit off putting in my opinion. I just want to be a little more mindful, and think it would be great to share it with you all in subtle way.

 

I think as long as we are making small changes and doing what we can, thats a great start! I hope you have found this interesting- any questions please leave them in the comments below!

 

Rachael x

My go-to workouts

So after talking about my go to workout clothing, I thought I would talk about my go to workout tips. In the last few of years, I have really started to find a love for fitness. Most days, there is nothing I love more than putting my trainers and headphones on and zoning out for an hour in the gym. I think I have learned a lot about fitness in the last few years, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks I have learned over the last few years. I am by no means a personal trainer,  so I won’t be going into too much detail!

Some realities:

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is that I am not a full time athlete with all the time in the world to exercise. A lot of the time I am tired from work and really don’t fancy exercising, so if I set myself a goal of 3-4 days a week of exercise. I used to aim for 5-6 days but it’s not feasible most days and thats okay!

Secondly, all the ‘fitspo’ people on Instagram are great for motivation, but I have learned that it is really impossible to mimic their bodies. For starters, a lot of pictures will be edited or from flattering angles and secondly, it is literally their jobs to exercise! Whether their a fitness influencer or just a general influencer, they have the time to exercise all the time- I however do not, so I try and limit my expectations and stay realistic about my goals.

Thirdly, I don’t enjoy every form of exercising out there and again, thats okay! I have concluded running is not for me despite years of trying, however I have found some exercises I love so I thought I would share.

My fave workouts

Yoga: I loooove yoga, especially as a warm up, cool down or just to zone out for a bit. I recently have just got back into it and am so thankful, because my body feels much less tense! I normally do yoga at home either using the Asana Rebel app (you can download it from an App Store) or I use Shona Vertue’s youtube channel- both are so easy to use and very informative!

Interval training: this has changed the way I do cardio. I used to find it so boring because I would just run or cross train for an hour and feel like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I started researching and found interval training is a way more effective and interesting way to do cardio. Normally I will now do 20-30 minutes on either the step machine, bike or cross trainer doing 40/20’s. This means I work really hard on the machine for 40 seconds then for 20 seconds I take it easier to get my breath back. Not only does it make you sweat more and work harder, it makes the time go so much quicker!

Core workouts: I LOVE core workouts. It is my favourite workout because I love the burn in my tummy when I am working hard. I normally use youtube videos to find different workouts for my core by just typing ‘core workout’ or ’10 minute core workout’ and millions of videos pop up! I try and do core 2-3 times a week.

Weights: I have only recently started to enjoy weight training. I have started doing squats again after not being able to due to a hip injury for 2 years. You see results a lot quicker when doing squats. I also love dumbbell workouts for my arms. I am definitely not qualified in explaining how to use weights but I always find personal trainers/gym staff are really helpful in gyms if you need help with how to squat/use weights effectively and safely. If you are unsure, just give someone an ask- I have always found them really helpful!

Classes: Last year I really got into step class, until I picked up a knee injury and have been too scared to go back! I love any classes that are dance/routine orientated as I find the class much more fun and makes me want to go back!

 

A final tip for a good workout is a good music playlist! Here are 10 of my go to gym songs:

  1. ‘Electricity’ by Silk City, Dua Lipa, Diplo and Mark Ronson
  2. ‘Fade’ by Kanye West
  3. ‘You Don’t Know Me’ by Jax Jones and RAYE
  4. ‘Nonstop’ by Drake
  5. ‘All my Love’ by Major Lazer and Ariana Grande
  6. ‘Play’ by Jax Jones and Years & Years
  7. ‘Side to Side’ by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
  8. ‘Nice for What’ by Drake
  9. ‘Remind Me to Forget’ by Kygo and Miguel
  10. ‘Bootylicious’ by Destiny’s Child (cheesy but I do admittedly listen to this when I squat, lol)

 

Happy workout!

Rachael x

My go-to workout clothing brands

Hey all!

So with it being about -10 degrees right now and the January blues have well and truly kicked in, I find going to the gym or doing a workout nearly impossible right now. When it’s summer I can’t wait to go for a run or a swim, but in the winter I want to cuddle up in bed and not step foot in the gym. Therefore I need some motivation, and nothing motivates me more than nice gym clothes! So I thought I would share my go to brands and my favourite pieces.

First up is Forever 21. I think I have gone on about Forever 21 activewear for years, and thats because not only is it super pretty, it so affordable and lasts foreeeever! I have had a pair of leggings for about 5 years that cost me £20. I have linked some of my favourite items from their current activewear line below:

 

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Leggings

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High impact sports bra

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Leggings

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Crop top

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Hoodie

Next up is puma. I am obsessed with puma clothing and if you are long legged like me, you need to try the leggings! They are super long and flattering.

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Leggings

 

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Puma leggings

 

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Sports bra

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Sports top

And finally, I want to talk about my new find, Gap. I didn’t realise they did activewear, however now I have noticed their line ‘GapFit’ and want it all!

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Star leggings (as seen on my Instagram)

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Colour block leggings

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Deep blue leggings

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Twist back t-shirt

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Low impact sports bra 

 

There are plenty more brands I love- USA Pro, Nike and Under Armour are up there too, so definitely check them out! I hope this has helped if you are in a little rut with exercising, but if you want to snuggle up on the sofa away from the cold, that is perfectly fine too!

Lots of love,

Rachael x

2019- The Year of Minimalism

Happy New Year everyone!

We are quite a bit into January now so I can imagine a few of you are giving your New Years resolutions a go. Every year I normally start my year with ‘I’m going to be more healthy’, ‘I’m going to exercise more’ or ‘I’m going to work harder’, but normally by February I give up and go back to my normal routine- which isn’t terrible- but I feel like i’ve lost my motivation. So this year I decided to tackle a new goal of mine- to be more minimalistic. What I mean by this is that I essentially want to own less ‘clutter’ and buy less than I normally do.

Having loved fashion for years, having my own blog and also working in the industry, this has has meant that I’m forever looking at clothes, handbags, shoes and even beauty products. I’m basically a marketers dream and I buy into most trends, and probably buy at least one new thing a week- whether its clothes, make up or accessories. My friends know me as a serial shopper and my boyfriend rolls his eyes every time I show him the new handbag I got even though I have a million others that look the same. But this year I have decided to make a change, for a number of reasons. Firstly, I want to start saving money as I don’t even want to know how much I spend yearly on fashion and beauty buys. Secondly, I feel that if my room is less cluttered of ‘stuff’ I might feel less mentally cluttered- I know that sounds weird but it sounds sensible in my head! And finally, as you may of heard, ‘fast fashion’ is becoming a real problem, and I feel like I am a part of that. If you haven’t heard of the term ‘fast fashion’, it is a term used by fashion retailers to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends. Essentially, high street stores are mimicking catwalk trends and constantly refreshing their stores multiple times a year with new trends so consumers buy into it. This means that there is a higher rate of consumerism but also a higher rate of waste as once these items are ‘out of fashion’ (or fall apart due to being poorly manufactured to cut costs). I definitely buy into trends and then chuck out clothes regularly, however after conducting my 4th year dissertation on the topic of fast fashion (let me know if you want a blog post on that) I’ve decided to buy less into the trend. So how exactly am I going to do this? Well, I’ve made a little plan with 4 changes I am making, so that if you are trying to also be more minimalistic, it will hopefully help you too!

Organise and stay organised!

Recently I have decided to reorganise my bedroom to see where I can get rid of things, and basically to make me realise what I don’t need anymore. I have been ruthless and it honestly feels so nice having less clutter around my room! I can see my clothes more clearly and for some reason it feels nice just having less stuff. Therefore I am hoping this will make me want to keep it this way and stop me from buying more!

Budget

I have decided each month I am giving myself a budget to spend on fashion and beauty.  Recently, I got myself a monzo bank account (an online bank that lets to budget and see your spending via an app) where I have made a pot for fashion and beauty, so I don’t overspend.

 

Think before I buy

I am so bad for making rational decisions when it comes to shopping- if I see something I want, I buy it- and often I decide a month later I don’t like it anymore and it becomes waste. Therefore if I see something I like, I’m going to spend a few days thinking about it and if I still want it and can justify it, then I will buy it.

 

Donate to charity

This isn’t actually a new thing for me, I’ve donated clothes to charity for years, however I want to carry on doing it. It’s really easy to donate to charity- you can either go to charity shops with your things or you can find donation drop offs often by googling the nearest place to you. I often donate my clothing to the charity ‘bins’ that you find in H&M and TK Maxx. This limits the issue of waste in my life and makes me more inclined to get rid of things I don’t need as they are going to a good cause!

 

I hope this has been useful to anyone who has the same New Years resolution as me, and good luck to those that have any other resolutions they are working hard at!

All my love,

Rachael x

Genki

 

Happy Monday!

 

I thought I would start the week with a new blog post about one of my favourite new independent fashion friends. I recently met my now friend, Courtney, at work a few weeks ago and was so excited to hear she has her own fashion brand- Genki- a streetwear brand that specialises in menswear.

 

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A little info on Genki:

Genki launched its first collection in the winter of 2017 as a streetwear brand taking inspiration from high-end fashion brands such as Maharishi, Comme des Garcons and streetwear brands like MKI and Supreme. The brand is designed to be prominently menswear as Courtney believes males are more likely to purchase independent brands and fashion labels. She also likes the idea of blurring the lines between male and female fashion with over-sized products replacing fitted clothes. Furthermore, Courtney wanted to create something affordable but also good quality, as streetwear can often be of a very high price. Genki has its own website which is is also used as a platform for up and coming fashion designers and brands in order to sell and advertise numerous brands from around the globe. And finally, incase you were wondering, like I was, the idea of the name of Genki came from the story of Yamato Tamooka- a man who went missing in Japan for a week and once he was found in the woods he was described as ‘Genki’ meaning healthy.

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Genki is a super fashion-forward brand but also has its own stamp on it. Now a brand that is technically based in Glasgow, I think it is one that fits in so well with the very cool, relaxed vibe that Glasgow has.

As you can see I got the pleasure of being gifted a Genki hoodie and I’m obsessed with it! The colour is so cute, and ever though its from the menswear line, its perfect for females too! Having had at the line I already have my eye on a couple of hoodies, and don’t even get me started on the kids wear!

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If you want to have a look at the website (wouldn’t blame you) here is a link and the Instagram page which is also very cool is @genki_lifestyle.

I’ve also linked some of my favourites below incase you want to shop them straight away!

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Sakura Hoodie

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Sakura Hoodie

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Oahu Hoodie

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Babygrow

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Tanelah T-shirt

Happy shopping!

Rachael x