Returnal.

Whoops, it’s been a while! It will, in all likelihood, quite often be a while – but I don’t mind multiple resurrections if you don’t.

I think my last post was somewhere in February, before a combination of tech woes/inherent laziness got to me. How’s about a bit of a catch up though?

His 'n' hers

A post shared by Helen Taylor (@hellionyell) on

I read Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ pretty much on one bus journey, and while my house will probably always be messy, there’s some interesting approaches to wardrobe clutter there. Number one being that you have to respect all your clothes, treat them well, and even thank them for their job – which is pretty hard when you’re just wearing stuff you feel obliged to. Coupled with spending a lot less downtime looking at ASOS et al, I really want to narrow shit down by the time I’m 30. Which is less than a year btw (yep, I also had a birthday).

Reptile-style
Reptile-style | Trainers, Reebox x Crooked Tongues; Trousers, H&M

When I say ‘narrowing shit down’, I do not mean that I’m gonna exclude things like snakeskin Reebok Classics. In fact, the amount of botanical-print stuff in the shops right now is tiring out even an avowed tropical devotee like me, so I gotta go elsewhere for my decoration. I wore these with grey trousers, black jumper, blacker jacket, and purple lipstick – as far as I’m concerned, that’s minimalism.

LONG!
LONG! | Jacket, Free’P’Star; T-shirt, British Heart Foundation; Skirt, Beyond Retro; Shoes, Juju
SHORT!
SHORT! | Pea coat, Uniqlo; Skirt, vintage; Shoes, Topshop; Hat, Beechfield via Amazon

In probably the most seismic change, I had a proper hair cut for the first time in ages. Partly because reasons and partly for the hell of it, but I like life in jaw-length land (I realise I’m wearing a hat in the ‘after’ photo, but you’ll see more of it soon enough). These photos were taken in a fairly warm spell in March, but let’s just pretend I’m not that late.

Peace out | Sunglasses, vintage; Bikini top, ASOS
Peace out | Sunglasses, vintage; Bikini top, ASOS

I also went to Florida and Copenhagen, although my ‘proper’ camera didn’t, so you can enjoy this fairly obnoxious poolside snap. Promise I won’t leave you behind next time…

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Can U Not.

Necklace, $10, Wild Daisy
Necklace, $10, Wild Daisy

Today I’m happy. I found this little beauty of a necklace via means unknown, then didn’t buy it (in some pre-Christmas virtue), was heartbroken when it went out of stock (rightly so), and snapped it straight up when it came back in (as was always meant to be). For the grand total of just over a tenner including postage, I have a super necklace with a sentiment very close to my heart.

Acres of jumper
Acres of jumper

I don’t wear jewellery that often, so I’m more convinced of its talismanic properties than I should be – anyway, I’m hoping this will rid my days of all annoyances. There’s also something to be said for the marriage of gold (cough) jewellery and apparent vandalism, right? Such juxtaposition.

Muffled.

Earmuffs, £17 American Apparel
Earmuffs, £17 American Apparel

After declaring all winter this far that I was too grown up for earmuffs, I saw these in American Apparel and couldn’t resist. They are £17, and I hate myself a little for envisioning a “hey, I’m an adult with disposable income that I chose to spend on earmuffs!” situation. SUCKER. Still, they’re go-big-or-go-home and I’m in love. I haven’t got a picture of the earmuffs in their natural habitat (…of outside the house) so here’s me givin’ good spam in my living room.

Big earmuffs, bigger forehead | Earmuffs, £17 American Apparel
Big earmuffs, bigger forehead

Seriously though, these things are warm. Beanies are great but they got nothin’ on these for when the cold really sets in (although a few unscientific surveys suggest that I have particularly sensitive/big/elephant ears). Also file under: things you can wear with your hair up. Plus, most people smile at you when you’re wearing them, which is nice in the depressing post-Christmas wasteland of January. Earmuffs, I’ll never deny you again.

Soft Soft Soft.

I’ve been on a bit of a trouser odyssey these past couple of months: I got no love for Super Cosy Tights when all of a sudden my collection of slacks has exploded. The standout discovery has been these ASOS Peg Trousers though. Cheap and most definitely cheerful, I’ve got two wintery prints and they’re helping a lot with my apparent New Year ambition to get everything as pyjama-like as possible.

something something
Trousers, now £13 ASOS | Faux-suede boots, £10 Primark

My two prints of choice so far are “William Morris” and “carpet” (not official product names), and despite the thin material they’ve held up well to a wet ‘n’ wintery season. I’ve also managed to convince both my mum and some girls in the pub that they’re a godsend, so they must be doing something right.

something something
Trousers, £22 ASOS | Faux-suede boots, £10 Primark

Of course, there’s the usual mega-bargain pitfalls of erratic sizing: for two pairs in the same cut and size, the fit varies noticeably. That’s the only downside I can note though, and I really hope they stay around for summer because some of these in palm print worn with sandals would be my dream. Until then, velvet…?

Colder.

I’ve been writing this for a while, but today someone linked to an apocalyptic weather piece illustrated with pictures from Scandinavia/Russia/Photoshop of people drowning in snow, so no time like the present. How to survive winter the HT way!

Lush Popcorn Scrub and Nuxe Reve de Miel

For winter mouf | Popcorn Scrub, £5.25 Lush; Reve de Miel stick, £6 Marks and Spencer

Dry lips don’t just look bad, they feel bad. As someone who will bleed for the cause if I don’t use lip balm in the winter, I feel like I can confidently recommend these two. Scrub yr lips with sugar, then eat it. Eat it up, dead skin and all – or just wipe it off if you prefer non-cannibalistic beauty routines. Then put on this lovely stick, which isn’t shiny so you don’t look like cd:uk era Cat Deeley. That’s it! And don’t get me started on Vaseline.

Body Shop Camomile Cleanser

For winter cheeks | Cleanser, £12 The Body Shop

This stuff will clean your face real good. And if for whatever reason you don’t want to clean your face, use it with cotton wool to take off your makeup. It’s the consistency of coconut oil, which you could use to much the same effect – just don’t try and fry your eggs in this stuff.

Touchscreen Gloves

For winter texts | Gloves, Tiger

For obvious reasons. These actually work (apart from the occasional thumb-swipe) and you can get pointlessly expensive ones (Muji, Urban Outfitters), mid-priced (H&M, Tiger) or dirt cheap (Primark). Just be careful with the latter, as their definition of ‘glove season’ is dangerously narrow – try and buy a pair in April when it’s still freezing and you’ll be confronted with a wall of novelty sunglasses instead. And if you don’t have a touchscreen phone, I salute you.

Beanie ‘n’ Scarf

For winter head ‘n’ shoulders | Hat, £2-ish, Amazon; Scarf, Primark

Where all else fails, the beanie ‘n’ scarf combo rings true. Anyone who’s a fan of American Apparel beanies needs to STOP RIGHT NOW and get acquainted with Beechfield via Amazon or eBay, where nothing is over £3.50. Thank me later. The scarf is from Primark last year, and the latest in a long line of tartan scarves I inevitably lose. Only because I love them.

Any further suggestions?

Haulage.

I’ve probably got the internet’s smallest Primark ‘hauls’, but that’s just how it goes. No drag-along trolleys for me – I approach Primark like I do any other clothes shop. If they’ve got what I want, great – and if it’s dirt cheap, even better.

Any longer-term readers will know I’ve got a soft spot for the men’s section, and I went full-on XL with this sailorish beauty. Thus, a mini-haul – showcased against my derelicte mid-decoration walls.

 For when you're in Primark and you want to be in Cos
For when you’re in Primark and you want to be in Cos | Top, £6 Primark

I’m all about the fluffy jumpers but even though my Topshop version is fairly perfect, I’ve got an aversion to buying the same product in different colours. This little number comes in black as well, but I went for white to maximise the cuteness. Handkerchief up sleeve: optional.

 For when you're in Primark and you want to be 75
For when you’re in Primark and you want to be 75 | Cropped jumper, £7 Primark

So that’s a grand total of two items, and thirteen pounds, but moreover two useful wardrobe additions. Cheap trick.

Almost Medieval.

There's a naked lady on the other side | Lipstick Queen in Medieval, £22 Cult Beauty
There’s a naked lady on the other side | Lipstick Queen in Medieval, £22 Cult Beauty

I’m a simple yet contradictory being. I own one MAC lipstick ’cause they’re “expensive”, but give me a £5 Cult Beauty voucher that’s only valid for an evening and I’m all about the fancy-pants stuff. ‘Medieval’ is my first Lipstick Queen purchase, and though it was listed with a rather whimsical blurb of fair maids ‘n’ rosebud lips that would get a side-eye from George R R Martin, the idea of a sheer red won me over. The photo below has some mad colours, but basically it’s like blusher for yr mouth: the shade you wished you went, but never do without some gunky makeup help.

Big forehead: authentically medieval. Duckface: maybe not
Big forehead: authentically medieval. Duckface: maybe not

For whatever reason I wasn’t getting my hopes up – but my word, it’s worth yr pennies. Looks imperceptibly ‘nice’, doesn’t clash with the rest of my pink face, doesn’t emphasise my wonky lipline… Next stop: Hello Sailor. It’s BLUE goddamnit.

Fluff.

You probably won’t be able to tell, but this post has been a long time in the making. First of all, I’d already written a love letter to this Topshop jumper by the time I found a loose thread that basically unravelled the whole thing – so we’re on Jumper #2, and I’m hoping ‘eyelash knit’/spider legs aren’t just inherently unreliable jumper materials. Then there were the damned photos. Down below looks like smiling, but it’s actually “if my feet aren’t in this shot, I’m gonna cut them off”.

Feet! And some half-stripped walls for yr pleasure.
Feet! And some half-stripped walls for yr pleasure.

Eventually though, it’s a post I felt worth writing. A cropped black jumper is as near as I get to a wardrobe staple beyond M&S underwear, and it’s a rare day I feel okay in an outfit this lacking in colour. You may also notice I’ve had a haircut. I’m still getting used to styling it, and today was a Head-and-Shoulders-and-see-what-happens kinda day. At first it was a bit Michael Hutchence (but Into the Gloss says that kinda stuff is okay), then a bit scarecrow… hairclips are still my friend. A bit of purple eyeliner and Rimmel’s ‘Not An Illusion’ Colour Rush Balm as well for my “I don’t give a damn about these photos any more” face.

I really, really don't.
I really, really don’t.

Cute & Sleazy & Cursed.

Goodness knows what this title’s gonna do for my search engine rank, but Cute & Sleazy is the name of this set of nail stickers from Sara M Lyons on Etsy (look closely enough and you’ll see there’s no skimping on the latter). I thought they’d be complimented well by the cutest and sleaziest new addition to my wardrobe, this leopard furry number from Primark. Teamed here with an H+M T-shirt dress that’s migrated half the way across my chest, and a new Topshop bag I’m holding back-to-front.

Outfit Photos 101: FAILED
Outfit Photos 101: FAILED

I’d waited for a bit to wear the stickers, and finally decided that today was the day: three fresh coats of Rimmel’s Black Cherries later, I realised that you were supposed to paint your nails with a light colour for them to show up. There’s a little strawberry on Ruby Ring, not that you’d know it.

Reading instructions: FAILED
Reading instructions: FAILED

Just to leave you with something successful, here’s my phone decorated in the normal-sticker versions, alongside a few puffy Japanese stickers and a poodle with blusher on. Makes reading this whole thing worth it, right?

HI I'M A POODLE WITH BLUSHER AND A BOW TIE
HI I’M A POODLE WITH BLUSHER AND A BOW TIE

One day, I’ll get better at all this.

Clodhoppin’.

 Don't look down
Don’t look down

Not sure how much my love for Big Shoes has been documented here, so let’s get to it. The moment creepers made a comeback circa 2008 or so, I was enthused but generally scared. I wasn’t sure about the whole statement, and then I had an eBay disaster when I bought a men’s size 8 pair (grey and blush lovelies, we were never meant to be) so I decided they weren’t for me. Happily enough though, big soles stuck around long enough for all kinds of shoes to get the stacked treatment. I’ve still never had a proper pair of Underground-style creepers, but this lot have been keeping me company for the last few years.

Ramsey Dr Marten Creepers

image
Mud = love

These don’t seem so big to me now, but at the time I felt super elevated. You cannot go wrong with cherry red DMs as far as I’m concerned (I also like matching them to my jumper) and they’re classic enough to wear for as long as they survive – which is a long time, thankyou Goodyear construction.

Vagabond Dioon Boots

image
For tall days

Here’s where I properly splashed out on Big: 80 quid for heelz when I’d heretofore been notoriously allergic. Vagabond got it right though, and I’ve been running around in these since March/April time. I’ve seen girls all over in variations on the Dioon (they do sandals, shoes and zip-up boots as well) and always smile appreciatively.

River Island Jelly Shoes

image
Rainbow brite

I was able to wear these just once before autumn kicked in, but they’re chunkier than yer average Babe so I’ll shove ’em in here. Lovely icy blue tinge, lovely glitter, comfy as anything, and I really hope I can wear them again before May. Socks are my best friend.

New Look Chunky Loafers

image
Tasseltastic

My most recent purchase, and the pair that inspired this post. I was on the hunt for the loafers in this wishlist but they only had size 7, so off to New Look it was to get these beauties. I actually wasn’t sure at first because I loved the other ones so much, but I’ve been completely converted. They stay on my feet (life with big feet/tiny heels is tough) and look badass whatever I’m wearing. £25 well spent.

So there you go: clunky, chunky and unsubtle is where I’m at. Stillettos, flip-flops and ballet flats be damned – gimme some substance!