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Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Zara Skort Of My Dreams

The Zara Skort Of My Dreams

Oh hey! I just wanted to write a little blog post about these bloody insane shorts I got from Zara a few weeks ago. I initially thought they were a skirt and was a little unsure as to whether I liked the whole skort kinda vibe, as shorts just do not suit me at all, but these were pleasantly surprising! The weather is so temperamental here in Bergamo at the minute that any day that looks to be promising weather wise is spent making the most of my summer wardrobe, and these shorts got nothing but compliments.

They're a super flattering length as they are not -long- shorts but not glorified knickers either, and the paperbag style waist really cinches you in to create a lovely silhouette. The fabric is light enough to keep you cool but still really good quality, and I am obsessed with the broderie anglais/crochet style detailing against the cornflower blue gingham. Everyone knows that gingham is huge this season in a variety of colour schemes, and these shorts scream summer festival vibes.

I paired mine with this gorgeous sheer top which I bought from Topshop around two years ago; it has black embroidered detailing all up the front which you can't really see in these photos and cute little pom poms along the sleeves and bottom. The fact it isn't skin tight and a really thin fabric means it is great for really hot days, but still keeps you covered up if you're a bit self conscious.

Shoe wise I just went for a pair of black pointed loafers, but this would work well with gladiator sandals, slip on loafers or even boots depending on the look you're going for. This is a shorter post than normal as I don't have much to say other than these are probably the best thing I have bought this summer clothes-wise and I pray the weather stays decent throughout summer so I can get more use out of them (wishful thinking, I know!). However, I have also worn them with tights and boots on one of the cooler days here and thought that looked really good too, so I will definitely be taking them through to Autumn/Winter with me.

Do you have a certain favourite in your current wardrobe? Are you a fan of 'skorts' or prefer clothes to stay in their lane - shorts/skirts?

Lauren x
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Lauren Gibbins

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

5 Ways To Save Money On Holiday

5 Ways To Save Money On Holiday

One of the things I really wanted to push myself to do on my year abroad was travel more. I have mentioned before that whilst travelling is something I have always enjoyed doing, it has never been top on my list of priorities, with me always choosing a new pair of shoes or beautiful dress over a weekend away somewhere. This was also because I worked in the restaurant industry where time off during school/university holidays is pretty rare, and weekends off almost non-existent. In Bergamo I haven’t had to worry about working as much, but the lack of a constant income has obviously substituted my lack of time with a bit more of a shortage of money, so the travels I did organise would have to be on a strict student budget. This post is basically to tell you how this IS possible, and how even if you do have a regular income, you don’t have to resort to paying ridiculous amounts to explore new countries.


Research everything. Research the countries you’re considering, research cheap places to stay, research the best cheap places to eat and things to see. The worst thing you can do is go somewhere without a clue of what to expect price wise, as even if the flights are cheap the city itself could end up being an expensive place to visit. It can be very easy to get into the habit of settling for ridiculously hiked up prices for food and drink in particular, as you just assume that everywhere will be the same price, so I would definitely recommend doing a good few google searches and Trip Advisor stalks to get some good recommendations for every aspect of your trip, which won’t break the bank. Or even just ask people if they have been before and what they would recommend!
Included in this part is researching the airport and how to get to and from it. If you fly with RyanAir, they often use budget airports which aren’t always in centre of the place you’re going to. A perfect example of this is Paris Beauvais or Brussels Charleroi, where you have to take the city coach from the airport into the cities themselves. These companies charge an arm and a leg for journeys which really shouldn’t cost that much at all because they know that people will pay for it, as often there aren’t any other options. By taking this into consideration, you may save money by getting a more expensive plane ticket which takes you directly to the main airports, which generally have better links into the cities anyway. Plus, it’ll save you a bit of time too, so you’ll get to experience more of the place you’re visiting.


Obviously holidays are intended for you to enjoy them, and there is no point going if you are going to spend the entire time resenting the fact that you can’t afford to do the things you want. Prioritise what will make your holiday the best experience for you and allow yourself to spend a bit extra on those parts, whilst maybe making cuts on the not so important things if you really need to budget. For example, maybe you’re a massive foodie and your favourite part of trips abroad is sampling the local delicacies, but you’re not that bothered about fancy hotels. Here, you can save a bomb by getting a cheap hotel or hostel that will do you well just to sleep in and spend your extra money on trying new cuisines, or vice versa; maybe your hotel is your biggest priority but you’re not that bothered about food, so you could spend a bit more on a nice hotel or apartment and buy food from the supermarket to make your own packed lunches for the day.


Hostels get a bit of a bad rep as being unsafe, unsanitary and generally an unenjoyable experience, but this really does not have to be the case. You can save so much money on your sleeping arrangements by opting for a hostel, and more often than not you can get a private room for little more money than the shared dorms. I have stayed in a few hostels in Milan, Paris, Rome, Pisa and Bergamo itself, and none of them have been any different to a cheap hotel but are often a hell of a lot cheaper. Again, make sure you do your research and check out all the reviews before hand, but it should save you a decent bit of money and still give you a comfortable nights sleep.
I stayed in a hostel in Pisa which cost €12 per person per night for a 4 bed private dorm with an ensuite and yeah, it wasn’t the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had but we were literally just using it as a place to crash after a night out, so we didn’t need anything else. I also stayed at a hostel in Milan with Sam for a night away, which had a huge bed, decent shower and cheap drinks downstairs; I don’t think we would have had a better experience by staying in a fancier, pricier hotel, so hostels are absolutely worth considering. 


Everyone knows that holiday companies and hotels alike hike their prices up around bank holidays, summer, Easter, Christmas - basically any time that the general public are out of work and schools are closed. Even your budget airlines become seriously expensive; I have seen RyanAir flights for £240 at certain times of the year, and that is just for a one way trip. If possible, time your breaks so that you are going at the less popular points of the year; this is obviously difficult if your time off naturally lands when every one else's does, but definitely saves you a lot of money. If you work in the restaurant industry or another sector of employment which actually favours you taking time off in these quieter periods, then you're on to a win!
As a general rule, mid-week flights do seem to be a lot cheaper than weekend ones, as obviously most people time their ventures away to cities on the weekends (hence the name ‘weekend-breaks’) but this shouldn’t be taken as gospel.


This one sometimes comes out tops, but it isn't always necessary as I have had some decent last minute trips quite cheap. Generally, however, train tickets, plane tickets and hotels get more expensive the closer you get to the time you leave, so if you have a certain time in mind for going abroad then it is worth trying to get it snapped up in advance. If you book with or TravelRepublic, you can often secure £1 deposit deals where you only pay for your flights and pay your hotel either on the day you arrive or a certain amount of time before it - generally you do end up paying a bit more money to secure the room, but if you snap up a good deal in advance you may end up saving money, and it means you don't have the entire price of the holiday coming out of your bank account in one go.

Also keep an eye out for flight deals, either by using SkyScanner or by signing up to get email notifications from budget airlines. I managed to get seriously cheap flights to Brussels just by keeping an eye on my emails from RyanAir, and they often have flights for as little as £4. If you can be flexible with dates and destinations, you can definitely secure some absolute bargains!
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Lauren Gibbins

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Florals For Spring

Florals For Spring

Florals; the faithful companion to fashion in the Spring. Each year we are greeted with a new take on florals, whether it be a change of print, colour or cut, and as much as Miranda Priestly's stern stare warned us all of its predictability, it is actually a really versatile print. Suitable for weddings, christenings, barbecues, festivals, gigs - you name it, you can dress it up to make it formal or toughen it up with a leather biker and pair of boots. Print clashing with florals is a fun way to re-use your less loved items in your wardrobe and is exactly what I did with my potential new go-to outfit for the warmer months.

 I bought this skirt last August before I went to Amsterdam, and also have it in the midi length. I love that it is black with yellow flowers, especially as yellow is SUCH an 'in' colour this year, and as it is a tie-around style it is very flattering. I do have to pin mine in place as one gust of wind could leave you as the lead story of The Daily Mail, but the length is really flattering.

This shirt was actually bought in the Christmas sales from Zara, and I have barely gotten any use out of it; not because I don't like it, but because as I have quite big boobs, I sometimes find shirts to be quite unflattering, but for €9.95 I couldn't be arsed with returning it, so it has ended up screwed up at the back of my wardrobe for a few months. Also, me and the iron have a bit of a love hate relationship after working in a restaurant where you would be sent home for a single crease in your shirt, so I try to avoid it as much as possible, but boy does this shirt crease up!

My favourite part about it is definitely the back, which is why it is perfect now that the sun seems to have returned to Bergamo and I no longer need to sweat in a jacket just to remain dry from the storms. It has embroidered cherry blossom in pink and yellow all up the back, with beading too, and really makes a simple pinstriped shirt just that bit extra special.

The colour of the shirt is incredibly flattering on all skin tones but looks especially good with a bit of a tan, and I love how the stripes clash with the floral print. Stripes and florals are a match made in print-clashing heaven, and this look would look equally as good with a simple navy striped jumper or a red breton-striped long sleeved tee. However, it looks equally as good with a black ribbed jumper to allow the skirt to do all the talking.

Shoe wise, you could go for the preppy style - which I will definitely be doing - and team it with some black loafers, or some brogues. I would also consider wearing some red boots if I were to wear it in the evening to go out for drinks or for food, perhaps with a red lip and nails to bring it all together.

Shirts are a great way of injecting a bit of a masculine feel into predominantly girly outfits, and by buying them a little oversized with structured colours and cuffs, you can make them look really casual yet preppy. Of course, the floral embroidery going up the back of this shirt makes it an extremely feminine piece, but if you replaced it with an actual men's shirt it would give the same effect. Contrarily, you could opt for a sheer white button down blouse, to make the look significantly more feminine, but then you lose the colour/print clash. A rose pink shirt with red shoes would also look beaut styled this way.

 I would definitely wear this outfit during the day, maybe to go along the beach or for a pub lunch, so when it comes to accessories I think less is more. A simple black bag would keep the attention on the focal point of the outfit - the skirt - but my bag of choice is this pale blue cross body number. I have featured the yellow version of this bag relentlessly on Instagram and it has received nothing but compliments, but in this case I think using blue on blue brings the outfit together.

The gold hardware on the bag is also a great way to incorporate all the colours used in the outfit into your accessories to make sure it compliments them well. The gold here isn't too yellow, but matches the yellow on the skirt really nicely. Sometimes little details like this are what pull your outfit all together and make it just that little bit better, as if it were silver hardware on this bag it would still look nice, but not as nice as it does with the gold. Noticing the little details like this have made me understand why sometimes outfits just do not look as good as you imagine them in your head, and has also made me realise how many good outfits I have been missing out on by not looking at the clothes properly.

This outfit is a perfect example of how you don't need to buy brand new clothes every week to keep up with the seasonal trends. I am a self confessed shopaholic and really do understand how sometimes it can seem that your wardrobe is a complete shambles, ESPECIALLY if you're a student and can't afford to be constantly buying new things. Recently I have been so bored with my current wardrobe, and the fact that I am not working whilst studying abroad so cannot afford to buy new stuff but also need to worry about getting all the clothes I already have home in two suitcases. Also, I always feel a lot more self conscious during the summer - like most people - and the inability to just throw on my leather jacket and a pair of tights or hide under an oversized jumper has made me hate the clothes I have even more. Taking the time to look at your current clothes and mixing and matching them with other things you wouldn't normally consider pairing together can often lead to really great outfits and save you a couple of quid on even more clothes to stuff at the back of your draws. None of the items here are brand new, other than the bag which was bought in March so is a few months old itself, but are still completely 'on trend' for this season. So whilst florals for spring may not be groundbreaking, their versatility makes them a key part of my year-round wardrobe.

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Lauren Gibbins

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