Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Big Wardrobe Spring Clean

Its that time of year again, when the wardrobe is bursting at the seams and yet I still have NOTHING TO WEAR!

And so it is times like these when a wardrobe clear-out is needed - but where do you start!?

The best idea I have found has come from Boxes2Move who advise that you to sort your clothes into three categories - Throw, Fave or Favour.

It is pretty self explanatory, but for those of you who are fond of checklists and questionnaires (like me) they have produced this handy little infographic to make the chore of de-cluttering as pain-free as possible.

So the sleeves got rolled up and I faced my wardrobe head on...

First category - Throw. 

I have a real metal block when it comes to throwing away clothes. Whether it is because I am still a slave to my money-saving student ways...Why throw something away which I spent money on so that I then have to spend MORE money on something else(!?) ...

Or whether it is because I am a self-confessed hoarder... But a jumper with a hole in it might be fashionable one day (!)

What I do know is, I have to be brutal! Like ripping off a plaster - that All Saints dress with an irreparable hole... gone.

 That DIY tie-dye the-shirt... bye bye.

Those self-cut denim shorts I wore for four straight days at Glastonbury in 2009... bin for you - wait, actually I can't throw them away...

This brings me to the second category - Fave.

There are some items which are just to special to throw away- they hold memories which can't be replaced and their threads hold secret stories which will probably never be told to anyone until 2050 when the grandkids doubt that you were once 'cool'.

Like those self-cut shorts ... they saw me drink my first underaged tin of lager and helped attract a rather gorgeous boy with half a blue face whom I snogged while watching Lady Gaga.

Incidentally, the boy with half a blue face is now one of my best friends, and even though life's pace has sped up, he will always be a very special person in my life.

Glastonbury 2009 - Without half a blue face.

Fave also includes that rather expensive winter coat that was bought on a whim in the Lake District which comes out at Christmas and makes you feel like a golden age Hollywood film star.

These are the items that need to be cherished and looked after - placed into storage waiting for that time they can be re-born whether it be to combat the first chill of winter or to relive that debauched summer memory. They will always hold a special place in the wardrobe of your heart.

Speaking of the heart the final category is all about spreading the love - Favour.

I have to admit that whenever the big wardrobe clean-out does happen (usually on a 6 monthly recurring basis) the favour aspect is initially aimed at my younger sister.

Moving her back to University recently I was helping her unpack and I am not kidding when I say that a good 50% of the items we unpacked did use to be mine. I am not saying this as a criticism- I think it is great that the clothes I invested my pocket money/student loan in are getting a new lease of life. My only bug bear is that they do tend to look better on by sister...grrrr

However once the more beautiful sibling has snaffled up her share of my wardrobe rejects I do tend to stuff the rest of the wearable items into the first charity plastic bag that 'fulumps' through my letterbox.

I still love visiting a good charity shop, you never know what you might stubble across! My Graduation dress was a charity shop find- who'd a thunk it!

The charity shop Graduation dress

And if you can't bare to give away an item for free there is always Ebay, Gumtree or Wallapop for you to re-coup some of your losses and fund a new item - refreshing the wardrobe for summer.

Coming to a charity shop near you soon...
All in all it has been a very useful exercise and I can say, with my hand on my heart, that my wardrobe is looking a lot more organised and I even found pieces I had forgotten about.

So when wondering what to wear for my mothers 50th birthday meal recently I revived an FCUK dress which had been gathering wrinkles in the back of the wardrobe for months!

Happy 50th Birthday Mum 

So now I do have something to wear - Problem Solved!

Love x

Thursday, 23 April 2015


The Pursuit of Sparkle has always been about looking forward- living in the moment and not dwelling on the past.

However, I have been inspired to go against this blogs principles do my first ever #ThrowbackThursday!

The inspiration comes from Mural's Wallpaper who are running this great campaign - 'Blogging Around the World'.

They are asking bloggers like me (and maybe you) to share a photo of a place that means a lot to them - with the end goal being that Mural's can then create a World Map of memories for their World Map Collection.

So for my #ThrowbackThursday I am taking you back to my proudest moment - scoring the last goal of the last match for the UK Ladies Football Team at the Tri-Campus Games.

Starting the History Ladies Football team in my final year of University was one of my proudest achievements. Making it to China was a huge milestone for me. It not only opened my eyes to the world beyond Europe but also taught a lot about myself. It inspired me to take 'strong not skinny' seriously, it required me to push my own boundaries and most of all, it taught me that wherever you are in the world, if you just say yes, wonderful things can happen.

So here is my #ThrowbackThursday:
Flying the flag for the UK- Ningbo Campus, China
To read the original blog I wrote about my Tri-Campus experience (and to have an ogle at the rest of the pictures) all you have to do is click here

I want to find out where my fellow bloggers have explored so I nominate Champagne&Lemonade and HoneyPlate to share their travels with the blogosphere.

Love x

Friday, 17 April 2015

Life is a Picnic at The Garden Kitchen

For me, family has always been the most important part of my life and so when Easter came around it wasn’t the chocolate that excited me, it was the prospect of spending Easter Sunday with the fam – drinking prosecco, eating yummy food and enjoying the feeling of bliss that comes with being around people who love you unconditionally.

The sun was shining (pathetic fallacy at its best) and it was so warm, we couldn’t believe it.  Piling into two cars my mum, dad, sister, grandparents and I made our way to Holden Clough Nursery in Bolton-by-Bowland to indulge in Afternoon Tea at their Garden Kitchen.

For those of you unfamiliar with this part of the world, Bolton-by-Bowland is what every other country in the world thinks England looks like. It’s all green fields, little stone bridges and winding narrow country roads- it’s beautiful.

Arriving at The Garden Kitchen it is really unassuming. There are little pots of sprouting shrubs everywhere (this is the nursery bit) and you really don’t expect much. Then you get to the Tea Room.

Choosing a table outside to bask in the Sunshine we already knew what to order. The Garden Kitchen is famous for their picnic bench afternoon teas and, as it was Easter, they had designed a truly indulgent one to mark the holiday.

Starting out with our complimentary glass of prosecco we were all in the mood for celebrating and as the picnic benches were presented it really did feel special.

Mini bruschetta like savouries, a glass wellington boot filed with banana milkshake, a carrot cupcake in a flower pot and a crème egg cheesecake in a little bucket were just some of the delights that weighed down the bench of goodies all watched over by the cutest Easter Bunny shortbread biscuit.

The mini delights did not last long with the mini chocolate Easter Nest tart being a firm favourite.

The Easter Nest Favourite and the Welly Banana Milkshake

Polishing off a gallon of tea we were all suitably stuffed and very reluctant to move from our little sunspot.

Looking around at my family I felt truly happy- I can never express how grateful I feel when I stop and think about how lucky I am to have such a loving family.

To remember the occasion I bought my sister and I a pair of the glass wellington boot glasses which the banana milkshake was served in- My sister pointed out they would be as shot glasses- to help you get absolutely welly’d (whheyyyy) but for me it was a symbol of how my sister and I come as a pair (cheesy).
My beautiful sister and our pair of glass wellington boots.

Needless to say, it was the perfect way to spend an Easter Sun-day

Love x

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Showing My True Colours

Hello Sparkly People!

It's time for one of those posts which starts with bit of a grumble...

Since the 1950’s its been expected that women could ‘Do It All’ and as the decades have passed this has evolved in ‘Being Perfect’. 

Do you have a great family, do you also have amazing friends, are you keeping fit, looking preened and do you have a brain the size of planet with a sparkling wit to match? This is what the modern woman judges herself by.

It is the pursuit of perfection which sometimes gets us all into a bit of a mess and yet we still try. So in 'Showing My True Colours' I have been attempting to see if it is possible to fulfill all the above… without making a mess (kind of).

It is no secret that I have an amazing family and the Easter weekend is the perfect time to show my gratitude. The next post after this will be sharing our lovely Easter celebrations with you all/ ogling at the yummy food from The Garden Kitchen.

Likewise, I have always been amazing lucky to have the best girls and guys around me and hopefully tonight’s Easter exploits will also be in a future post… unless I forget to take pictures which, given the amount of bubbles I usually consume with Steph Baron, will probably happen!

Anyway, down to the point of this post...

Showing My True Colours! Keeping fit has always been a ‘trend’ from Jazzercise to Spinning to Zumba to that 'Hot Yoga' where you pass out from heat exhaustion. All the above come and go with the decades but I have never really found any exercise that I love more than running. That overwhelming sense of strength and determination, the exhilaration you feel as you sprint out those last few meters… ultimate buzz!

During the winter, and all the upheaval finding a new job, moving multiple times and stuff, it was hard to get into a routine and my running suffered. NO LONGER! Now I have found a job a love, I am settling back into a routine and…I have joined a gym. (honestly signing that contract is like a pre-nuptial agreement (!)…  THE COMMITMENT!!)

Anyway safe to say it has been the best decision I have ever made (like I hope marriage will be). It’s after those stressful or annoying days when you are so tired and fed-up and you just want to hit someone (a specific individual or not) and I just run. 

I get on that treadmill and run my little legs off (managed a solid 11.8km yesterday!) but however I feel, whatever my body is telling me it can handle, just that repetitive movement to a killer running soundtrack is enough to raise my spirits and give me that new lease of life to take on anything.

I have been lucky enough to be invited to take part in Run or Dye the most colorful 5K there ever was, where I will be 'Showing My True Colours'.. .all the colours! 

I mean I love running anyway but the chance to run whilst getting covered in (safe and eco-friendly) paint sounds EPIC! And then, to top it off, you get to the finish line and get covered in MORE paint while having MC’s bust some tunes so you can boogie off all those endorphins until your legs give way. 

Honestly it sounds euphoric and I am so excited! From the pictures it just looks amazing and as I said, nothing better than running your heart out to killer tunes… oh wait getting covered in paint makes it better!!!

Entry is only  £27.50 and kids under 6 can run free you don’t need to be a fitness freak you just need to want a good time. I’d love it if some of you guys came along and did it with me. It’s always more fun with friends. And my friends get a discount (Y) £3 off entry if you use the code KISDISCOUNT!

Be quick though! Ill be running it on the 18th April so sign up ASAP you here!

Now the second part of showing my true colours, and the final thing on the checklist of modern day power woman perfection, it’s the intelligence and wit thing.

Now I don’t know if I did master this, but BBC Radio 4’s Today program gave me a chance to try.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to go and take part in an interview for the Today program which required me to go and watch the ITV Leaders debate alongside my boss David Ingram MD of Bring Digital, Matt Tomkin MD of VO2 Sportswear,  Blessing Maregere the founder of Bright Futures Enterprises Ltd and Barbara Spencer, an NHS Medical Secretary.

 Watching the debate together at the MercureHotel (Red wine and bar snacks included) we were required to comment on the debate as and when we felt we had something to say (bit like political Goggle Box). Those two hours were very cleverly condensed into 4 minutes of airtime by the lovely Matthew Price (ex-BBC War correspondent) for the BBC Radio 4 Today Program.

The results of which can be found here.

Now I am not one who usually voices her opinions (*ahem*) but it was really so much fun, and while it is always nerve-wracking to voice ones views and affiliations, especially when it comes to politics, I am actually really proud of the finished result.

So there you have it. Showing My True Colours on all fronts and trying desperately to ‘Be It All’ but ultimately, you know the truth. 

It is pointless trying to pursue perfection; it will only end up messy. All you should really pursue is sparkle because the mess that comes with that is a lot more fun… i.e. getting covered in paint!

Run or Dye

 Lots of Love!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Return of Sparkle

Hey Sparkle Finders!

So it has been almost 6 months since the last blog post and truth be known I was planning on it being the last.

I felt like I had finished the blog with that story. The blog that saw me through the toughest times.

That WAS going to be the case but …*fanfare please*… the Sparkle will be returning and it couldn’t have happened at a more exciting time!

I am now in a job I love (You are now looking at the new Digital PR Exec for Bring Digital), living with my family that I couldn’t love more and personally in a place where sparkle pursuit is easier that it has ever been.

I have to admit, I did cheat on ‘Pursuit of Sparkle’ in my absence; my contribution to the Bring Digital blog can be found here.

But Bring should be thanked, it reignited my blogging passion and I can’t wait to jump straight back in with the other amazing “Bring Bloggers” and write about all the sparkle I’m now finding, and what better way to start than with a post about diamonds.

Yes, beautiful, sparkly, diamonds.

Today was the Hancocks ‘To Have and to Hold’ blogger event held at their store on Kings Street, Manchester.

Welcomed with a glass of liquid sparkle, the event was kicked of with style, epitomised by the unbelievably elegant Rosemary.
(Honestly I don’t think I have ever seen a more sophisticated lady, Meryl Streep can SIT DOWN!)

For a History nerd like myself it couldn’t have started any better. Glass of champers in hand we got told all about the history of Hancocks, from its beginnings as the project of a clock winder to its place now as an Mancunian institution whose reputation for style, discretion and…well… selling beautiful diamonds, is well known.

After asking Rosemary what her favorite piece in the boutique was she went on to produce the most stunning yellow diamond ring any of us had ever seen. Square in shape, surrounded by diamonds, with the diamonds carrying on around the ring, it was breath-taking. One blogger was almost reduced to tears while the rest of us were shaking when we got the chance to

That’s £142,000 worth on my little, slightly blotchy, un-varnished finger!

Next up was the main event, the wedding jewelry. Presented beautifully by Amanda we got treated to pearl necklace’s, yellow diamond earrings (to match the ring obviously!) and yes…even more diamonds.

Slipping this gorgeous wedding band on we all started discussing our wedding dreams and plans. Boyfriends, Fiancés and men in general… start saving!

Being single, trying on the engagement rings, dreaming of weddings… it was ever so slightly depressing but it does give me something to aspire to (sorry in advance to whichever poor sod who picks me!)

The event was rounded off with goody bags and special Hancocks cupcakes (as if the afternoon couldn’t get any better!)

Safe to say it wasn’t my normal Saturday afternoon, but it was the best way to bring back the blog in style.

This really is the return of sparkle!

Love x

P.S. One, final thing... thank you to the girls who brought the sparkle back! 
(check them out, they are, honestly, awesome!!)

Monday, 3 November 2014

ED's Story

I wrote this piece about my relationship with my 'Ed' a while ago. Personifying my mental illness made it easier to handle and after reading Ruby Tandoh's article about her relationship with food in Elle UK this month, I wanted to share my experience. 

Ed's Story

Ed had been my best friend, my confidante and my worst enemy for three years. He had been there for me when I was feeling the most vulnerable, the most alone. I was moving away from home and setting out on my own for University. Beyond the sights of my parents, Ed taught me about myself without interruption. I had had to hide him away before, lie about seeing him, now we could be together, just the two of us, happy.
Happy? Can you die of happiness? I didn’t think I could. Together we were invincible. We grabbed life by the throat and told it to listen to us, we knew what was right, we owned my future, we were in control. ‘We’ weren’t. Ed was.

The trouble started when I brought him home for Christmas to meet the family. I was still a bit ashamed of him but as with anyone you fall for, you’re willing to put them first, beyond anyone who had loved you in the past. He was all that mattered, my parents just didn’t understand. They tried to tear us apart, undermining him and trying to talk me out of my drunken romantic stupor but I couldn’t let him go. He was my lifeline and my security against the world outside that was intent on making me fail.

I was lovesick, metaphorically and literally. In reality, beyond the rose tinted glasses, it was domestic abuse. I was one of those scared women who felt that they couldn’t survive without their other half no matter how much he beat them, undermined them and told them they were nothing without him. I wrote poems to him, letters to him, proved my love at every opportunity; breakfast, lunch and dinner, sacrificing myself at the alter begging for forgiveness every time I felt I had been weak and let him down.

 I tried so hard for him. To be the person he wanted me to be, but it was never enough. I was always too fat, too pathetic, too weak. I never lived up to those images he flashed in front of my eyes every time I looked in a mirror, or a window, or a spoon as it hurtled towards my open mouth while he screamed at me that I wasn’t good enough and I never would be if I didn’t try harder.
The break up was long, emotionally draining, soul destroying. Every week I would have to face him and tell him why this had to end, why we had to part ways, it was heart- breaking every time. He would apologise and proclaim he only had my best interests at heart; he was trying to help me, to make me better. Sometimes the violence would return, he would shout that I was nothing without him, that I would lose control and fall into a black hole of despair and failure where I would curl up and die having never achieved my full potential. It was these angry confrontations that spurred me on.
Learning to go it alone, have faith in myself beyond him was my target but I kept missing the bulls eye. Every holiday I would return from university to check my score but it was never enough to win the trophy. I was still a failure, but this time I was failing on my own. Ed was always around the corner of my mind or hiding in the cupboard ready to reveal himself with open arms for me to run back into.

I would like to say there was an epiphany moment, a lightning strike or a knight in shining amour that gave this tale a peak, but there wasn’t, not really. It was lots of little sparks keeping embers aglow which finally smoked Ed out. One of those sparks was my little sister. She was my idol; brave, intelligent, beautiful inside and out. Every time I saw her, that spark would re-kindle. It was when she had to go into therapy during her exams because of Ed that that spark turned into a flame.  Another spark came along one night when my mother came to sit on my bed and cried because she couldn’t see me under the covers. To her I had disappeared. That baby she had fed and nurtured for 18 years was throwing it back in her face an becoming a shadow. She was losing her daughter; that was a flame.  A university tutor telling me I had potential, a friend telling me she loved me because of everything Ed was taking away, being able to say yes to facing the world alone; every time a new spark would ignite.

Ed died on a pyre, a martyr to the religion of perfection.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Little Fish Syndrome

Hello everybody!
 Life update time again.
Once again the pace hasn't let up and life has been shooting forward in that usual way so that when you look back, life has flashed before your eyes and you can't believe its all happened.
So here's the breakdown...

1) I Graduated....
We all knew it was coming, although at times it was touch and go. These three years really have been the toughest. Previous blog posts are testament to that. But hey, turns out it was worth it. I manged to walk across the stage in front of hundreds of people (plus more watching online) not trip, cry or throw up and receive my first class degree in History from the University of Nottingham.
Who'd a thunk it eh!
Multiple pictures, a lovely family meal, a gorgeous surprise and a last few cocktails with the gang at CocoTang's meant it was goodbye Nottingham University. Its been a blast! I will now take my piece of paper and be off. Gracias.

My Little Sister <3 p="">

2) I moved down to London
So what do you do with a First class degree in your pocket and a very limited savings account... you move down to London of course.
Okay so i'm not that impulsive I did have an internship lined up. But yes i'm now here in the big smoke; cue the title explanation...
So its been busy, I mean like really busy. I had this idea in my head that I would move down, not be able to find a job and have to move back home (being my classically optimistic self as always). Not the case.
The first week saw me going to 3 recruiter meetings, setting up 3 interviews, start a new full time internship and move into a new house with people I barely know. I don't make it easy for myself do I? That was the tip of the ice-berg.

Long story short, i've now been offered a permanent graduate trainee role which I have accepted and am awaiting confirmation for.
In the meantime i'm still attending interviews I had previously set up in order to make sure i've made the right decision and helping out a fashion designer friend in my "spare" time. phew!
So back to the title. All this busy-ess, this awesomely, amazing busy-ness, has obviously been accompanied with exhaustion and drunken crying phone calls home.
I have termed this phenomena 'Little Fish Syndrome';

As a little fish in the huge ocean they call London, I am subject to one of two phenomenon. I am either trying to swim against the tide, using all my strength to stay my course and not get swept in the opposite direction, or the tide is on my side but it's pushing me faster than I can swim.  I felt this was a particularly apt analogy as it also fits with the idea that I am at the start of the rest of my life; a graduate, plankton, bottom of the ocean food chain and surrounded by bigger fish that will gobble me up or sweep me aside without even raising a fin. It's friggin' scary folks.
However, I am learning to surf the waves and on my own too because i've stopped the anti-d's (Hooray!) all is good in the mental-hood.

3) The Internship
So the whole reason I've been able to come down to London is due to the amazing Charlotte at GlamUK offering me an internship as an editorial assistant. It has been amazing! The people are great and I've been doing what I love; writing, messing around on social media and chatting non-stop about trends, fashion and food.
Today my first two pieces got published;
 ....with others scheduled to be uploaded over the next month.
The pride I feel knowing something I have written is on a site as established and widely read as Glam is amazing to me and has really boosted my confidence and self-esteem.
So big shout out to the Glam Team! Thank you for making me feel so welcome. Thank you for wanting me to stay on a little bit longer and allowing me to continue to learn and grow. I'm really going to miss you all come the end of August. *sad face*.

All in all, a busy few weeks. Its been hard keeping a level head when I've been riding this roller-coaster but i've managed it. I'm proud of myself and, as a knowledgeable friend said, 'London is my Oyster' (like the card geddit!?)
Little fish I may be but I am channeling Nemo and bossing it. I'll continue to grow, avoid being eaten and learn to swim with the tide.
Just keep Swimming..

Peace and Love x